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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Books Read :: September 2012

BACK ON TRACK. GONNA MAKE IT.

Mission: to read 52 books in 2012
Status: 46/52 
# of Books Read, September: 6

Notes on Books Read:

41) The Orange Suitcase by Joseph Riippi
Good, short, tight, coherent collection of stories that felt almost too real to be fiction-- with photos! But genre is malleable. And that wasn't a complaint, necessarily, just a note. 

42) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
This was one of our book club books. It was YA, which isn't my favorite... only because when I choose to read YA, I want to make a conscious decision to do so, rather than HAVE to read it because it's for book club. Ransom Riggs wrote one of my favorite articles about adverbs. I liked this book, but I was annoyed at the end when I realized it was the "first in a series", and now, to figure out what "happens", I am going to have to read more. I will just want until they are all out and read all of them at once. Maybe someday. Out loud. To my  imaginary children/someone else's children. There were also photos in here!


43) Selected Unpublished Blog Posts of a Mexican Panda Express Employee by Megan Boyle
I read this after seeing Megan read on a rooftop in Philly with Steve Roggenbuck, Paul Siegell and others. It was an interesting reading, and it inspired me to read this Muumuu House book that I'd had for awhile. I was glad I did, though it seemed very real to me, again, a blurring of genre. 

44) A Partial History of Lost Causes by Jennifer duBois
I loved this novel. It was extremely intelligently written, and it kept my interest from start to finish for various reasons. This book made two things that aren't necessarily things that interest me, Russia and chess, seem like things that I not only was interested in during the course of the novel, but things that I now want to learn more about. How much of this novel is taken from history? How much of it is fiction? These thoughts plagued me as I was reading, but in the interest of not wanting to spoil anything for myself, I avoided wikipedia and kept reading. Here, I admit a bias: Jennifer and I worked together during our undergrad days. One of the most pleasing things about this novel was knowing that I knew the author, and knowing that she must have put a lot of her heart and soul in the novel, but not seeing any too-obvious connection to the author throughout the story. My Irina was not my Jennifer, and for some reason this was hugely impressive to me: usually when I read things by people I know, I can't "take them out" of what I am reading. Since I could do this with Jennifer, I feel like the novel was especially great at pulling you into its world.  Another aspect of this book that I really loved was the way that the novel was structured worked for it, with the alternating narratives meeting towards the end, with the climax to the  narrator's seemingly major conflict as not the climax to the book itself, and with a great actual rising action/denouement at the end of the novel.Finally, there are little things that always make me like a book: excellent vocabulary that doesn't send me to the dictionary TOO often but still makes me think "wow that's a good word" and "what does that MEAN" occasionally; a book that I could recommend both to my most punk rock exboyfriend and my 80 year old Nana and feel like they would both like it, and a book that makes me tear up-- I had to stop reading this book at the end as I sat in front of my students who were silently peer editing one another's papers because I could feel myself getting emotional. I finished the book later, in my office, with no student audience.

45) Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner
This was a book club book, one of the three I suggested, for I was next. I liked this novel a lot, though when I first started reading it, I was slightly put off by its tone and seemingly mundane subject matter. This book felt like "Something You Would Read For School", as in it realistically and intelligently depicted a member of society during "this day in age" in a way that should help people in the future understand what it meant to be a privileged, white male in the post-9/11 era living in a foreign country. The narrator is aware of his position of privilege, to a certain extent, which makes the book, I think, "more" relevant than had he not been. His being a witness to History with a capital H bloats, in a definitive way, the narrator's importance, and maybe, then, the book's importance. I liked this book and thought that it was relevant and well written. It made me think, it made me agree with it, it made me underline things, it made me disagree with it, it made me mad at its narrator, it made me feel sorry for its narrator and, in the end, it made me glad that I read it. In the end, the tone was poignant and the subject matter, interesting.

46) Tongue Party by Sarah Rose Etter
I love Sarah Rose Etter as a person. And I also really very much loved this collection of stories. I have one complaint. I wanted more after I finished reading it. Luckily, she has her web-published stories on her site

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