So, this is a summer of reading. Most of my day at work, I sit and I read scripts. When I get home at night, I usually make dinner, and soon after settle in with a magazine or a book. I haven’t watched much TV while I’ve been here, which I don’t think is good OR bad. TV is what it is: entertainment. Right now, I am getting most of my entertainment from reading (and also, a killer tan when I do it by the pool.) I am not a particularly fast reader, but I try to be thorough.
What I’ve been reading (in order from current):
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
The premise of this book sounds real lame: two people get married, and on their honeymoon, they are worried about letting each other down–both emotionally and physically. Yeah. Lame. No! Wait! McEwan has a real gift for prose. His words are written beautifully with description and passion that reminds me of what little Nabokov I’ve read. I first heard about this book on NPR’s All Things Considered, a program I like to listen to on the way home from work. I’m about 1/4 of the way through this book, which I started yesterday, and I have a feeling that I will be able to plow through it by the end of the weekend. Recommend.
Full Frontal Feminsm by Jessica Valenti
Informal and in-your-face, Valenti tackles issues facing women today, and explains pretty successfully: “You’re a feminist, I swear.” Valenti addresses issues from across the board–employment, violence, reproductive rights, and what we can do about them. Nothing in this book is particularly earth-shattering to me, but she brings up a lot of good points. Feminism isn’t dead! Valenti is a founder of the feminist blog, feministing, which I now frequent. I heard about her book when she apeared on The Colbert Report in late May. And! On July 17th, I am going to an event and hopefully get to talk to her (at least a little!) Recommend.
There’s a (slight) Chance I May Be Going to Hell by Laurie Notaro
Surprise, surprise. Laurie Notaro has put out a new book, I bought it the week it came out, and had a hard time putting it down, almost making me late to work and other social events (who am I kidding about the social events part?!) After a series of collections of essays by my favorite Idiot Girl, Laurie tried her hand at fiction–and I think it’s a winner. This book featured all of my favorite Laurie-isms, including mention of “chub rub.” I suppose I’m a little biased on this one, since her books have topped my favorite lists since I was 17, but I do really think this one is fantastic. It’s about a pageant! The characters are colorful and hilarious. Do I want them as my neighbors? Yes. But, then again, I kind of want Laurie to be my friend. (If that doesn’t make me a crazed fan, I don’t know what does.) Have I emailed her after reading each of her books? Yes. Okay, this is starting to turn into fangirl babble…. Highly recommend.
Clumsy by Jeffery Brown
Just another graphic novel…no, no, it was far more than that. This book was lovely and felt so…real. It was heartwarming and heartbreaking and so full of, well, heart. I won’t lie, though. I still feel so dirty when I read comics with drawings of naked people in them. First off, I feel a little dirty reading comics at all. Luckily the naked drawings didn’t make me despise the human body as much as I do when I see a Daniel Clowes nude. (Don’t get me wrong, Clowes is my favorite!) Anyway, Clumsy was good, I read it in an evening, but it was a while ago, and I don’t remember much else about it. Consider it, if you can find it.
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Considered a young adult novel, John Green’s book is pretty mature. The characters are well-developed, the dialogue is excellent, and the structure is high above average. The plot flows nicely, and tension is created with ease. Many of the lame cliches usually associated with coming-of-age stories are rejected in the book, and the story is over-all relatable. No wonder it won the 2006 Pintz Award. This book would make a great film! Well….it’s in development. Josh Schwartz (who you may know as the writer of The O.C.) is set to adapt and direct it. I’m interested to see what Schwartz has up his sleeve. Right, back to the book…Corey let me borrow this book after letting me borrow Frank Portman’s King Dork, which I could not manage to get through. (I tried, Corey! I really did!) Looking for Alaska was just far more enjoyable for me. I do love a good coming-of-age story, and this is a good one, for sure. I really felt for the characters. I rooted for the good guys, and I wanted to see the bad guys (those damn Weekday Warriors!) got what was coming to them. I even liked the almost-cheesey end prank, that made me giggle out loud as I was reading. Enjoyable! Recommend.
What’s up next? Jeffery Eugenides’s Middlesex, which I assume I’ll love, after my love afair with his The Virgin Suicides. Also, Blue Angel: a Novel by Francine Prose, a book that I have literally no expectations of, and got on a clearance table for $2 at Borders. (From the back cover synopsis, it sounds like a whole slew of stories I’ve read and seen movies about, though.) I’ll also probably pick up my worn copy of The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank, a book my mother bought me a few summer ago. It dances along the border of a trashy beach novel and something more…respectable, and I adore it.