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Monday, July 14, 2014

Books Read :: June 2014

I don't know why it has taken me half of July to post this, but it has. Mostly, I reread for June and did the challenge for June via the monthly prompts I've been attempting to follow. I reread all of Harry Potter starting in May and finishing in early July. They were excellent, better even. I last read them seven years ago. I think I will go seven years without watching the films and read them again when I'm 37. I can't believe it's been 7 years since Deathly Hallows came out. That makes me feel very, very old. Two days after I finished, J.K. Rowling posted a "new" story on Pottermore, Rita Skeeter reporting live from the Quiddich World Cup, writing a gossip column about Harry & other members of the D.A. It felt fate-like.

Anyway, the prompt was to read "that classic you never read"-- I always try to read a long summer classic, and there isn't one in particular I avoid, so it was a great month to do just that, read my 2014 summer classic. Even though there's only a couple books on this list, since I don't write up rereads, I did plenty of reading in June...

Books read in 2014 thus far (via GoodReads count): 23/52

Books read this month:

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
This was the classic I intended to read this summer, and read it I did. I thought it was excellent, though I would have had some editorial tips for Tolstoy about the last "part" of the book, had I been his editor. The intentions of the last part are clear enough, but they could have been better done. The book leads to a certain point, and once it gets there, the wrap-up that is the last part could have been kinder or more bridge-like rather than seeming to jump so out of the story. I understand why it's essential-- how the book then shows two different descents into madness, how two different people wound up in two different futures despite both suffering. But because of the book's title, once Anna is killed, a whole other part that was at times, frankly, boring and meandering and introducing new characters and information that didn't matter too much to the whole book just to the end, seemed unkind to do to a reader who just had their heart broken for 800 pages. It was kind of him to give the readers a happy ending, but almost tactless to ignore the fact of Anna's suicide for so much of the last part. It illustrates, yes, how people do not speak of those who die by their own hand in the same way that other deaths are spoken of, how grieving is different, but it too specifically avoids mention of her fate after so well allowing us in her head during her long downward spiral. Suddenly she is snuffed out and we are thrust into someone else's world who we care about, but not as much as we cared for Anna. I gave the book 5 stars on Goodreads, don't get me wrong. I just think it was a funny way to end an otherwise pretty much flawless book. One final note: On telling a friend I read this book, he asked, "does she still jump?"

Bluets by Maggie Nelson
This book is something specific and something special and something of which I have never read anything before like. It was about a color but it was about love but it was about grief. It made me want to reread it as soon as I was finished but at the same time not for a long time or even ever. It's like a really good sad song that reminds you too much of something lost or something you could lose and you like the song a lot, but you want to listen to something else first and then forget that you ever wanted to listen to such a sad song again for awhile-- until you do. I liked this book a lot, too. I also gave it 5 stars on Goodreads.

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