Reading Recap

October 27, 2009 at 1:21 pm | Posted in Book Blather | 5 Comments

It looks like it’s been a while since I’ve recounted what I’ve been reading lately.

The Late George Apley – Pulitzer winner of 1938.  Read this if you ever have trouble understanding your parents.  Touching pseudo-biography of a Boston brahmin as he is forced from adventurous young man to stodgy paterfamilias.

A Gate at the Stairs – I love Lorrie Moore but this one didn’t grab me.  It was kind of a bummer.

The Yearling – ARGH!  Never again!  You can’t make me!  This book has no business in the Juvenile section of the library.  It was frickin’ brutal.

The Adventures of Tintin, vol. 1 – I couldn’t help it, I had to know what Tintin was all about.  Like The Yearling, I have to ask what is supposed to make this a children’s book.  Heroin smuggling?  Opium dens?  The Mafia?  The only thing missing was a brothel.  I love it and I’m planning to read more, but I wouldn’t give this to a grade-schooler.

The New Valley – Josh Weil is hotttt!!!  I can’t say enough good things about this book.  He’s a terrific talent, and if he’s already writing at this level we’ll be hearing more of him.

Fear the Worst – I think I reviewed this.  If you like thrillers, you’ll love this.

Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys – Can’t get enough of the Weetzie Bat books.

The Song of the Cid – I think I reviewed this, too.  It’s short and the Penguin translation is really approachable.

Howards End – I’ve been rationing out E. M. Forster for years because I know he didn’t write very many books.  So many quantum leaps above and beyond all other literature, in my mind anyway.

The 13 Clocks – One of James Thurber’s children’s books on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list.  I didn’t care for it as much as his adult works.

The Hobbit – We did this for Family Reading Hour, and it took two weeks.  Sweetie Junior kept falling asleep.  She kept saying, “I think this book is cursed!”  She enjoyed the plot and plans to read LOTR, but I think they’re not at their best read aloud.

In the Company of Cheerful LadiesThe No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series continues.  I do these on audio while I fold laundry and cook, and it’s pure bliss.

Sag Harbor – Funny and moving.  Deals with racial tension.  Do those things even go together?

Jesus’ Son – Denis Johnson, I can’t figure you out.  It’s either a tiny book or an enormous book.  Either way, it’s a distinct voice.

The Good Soldier – I always thought this was a war story, but it’s actually a twisted mess-with-your-mind story of romantic obsession, tragedy, and death.  Absolutely brilliant and great for a stormy night.

The Nobody – A graphic novel retelling of The Invisible Man.  Wonderful.

What the Dead Know – For book group.  Eh.

The Grapes of Wrath – I finally did it!  This book has always been my albatross, but I finally confronted it 20 years later in all its odd beauty.

In This Our Life – Pulitzer for 1942.  It’s sort of a cross between Years of Grace and To Kill a Mockingbird.  Big fat soap opera.

New World Monkeys – I loved this book, although I’m not sure I can figure out the ending.

Dogs and Water – A surreal and haunting graphic novel.

The Three Paradoxes – A graphic novel about family, love, and philosophy.  Hornschemeier’s artwork is absolutely pure.

Curses – Yes, I read graphic novels all day Friday.  BFD.  I loved this one because it was about starlings and superstition.  Great for Halloween time.

The Recognitions – The epic monster I tackled for Read-a-Thon.

The Elements of Style – Everyone should read this.  It’s funny.  I just found out I’ve been misusing the word ‘aggravating’ all this time.  How irritating.

Her Fearful Symmetry – Wonderful!  Fabulous!

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – …And then I read the most gut-wrenching, depressing memoir of all time.

The Satanic Nurses – A collection of short literary parodies.  I’ve been pecking at it for weeks.  There’s sure to be something for everyone here.

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5 Comments »

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  1. Completely agree about Lorrie Moore’s latest. As much as I love Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?, I think short stories are her “thing.” This is why Alice Munro says she never has written a novel…not her form.

  2. That’s a lot of books! I really liked the Yearling, but then I read it as a teen. As a kid it would probably have been too much for me.

  3. I’m always surprised to see The Yearling in the kids’ section.
    Gotta get back to my Pulitzer pile!

  4. Yeah… “Lord of the Rings” is not something to read aloud. It’s difficult enough getting through “The Two Towers” without dozing off, harder still if someone else is reading it out loud. It’s a tough one to read (oh so overlong) but I do think the story is fun and there’s something exciting to progressing through it (slowly or otherwise… I read it slowly).

    As for “Grapes of Wrath”, it’s a surprisingly awesome book. I at first wasn’t blown away, except then I reread it and let it sink in a little and realized it’s actually quite brilliant. And not just for chapter 25 (I think it’s 25…?), with all its beauty.

  5. My 5th grade teacher read us The Hobbit. and I thank him for turning me on to reading! Funny, tho, that I didn’t read LOTR until I heard the movies were being made.


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