2nd 5, 2008


If you haven't done it yet, click here and go read "The Oracle."

010) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, finished February 3
    Sometimes (unlike other times, a major runaway bestseller deserves all the love it gets. The Lovely Bones is such a book.

    It's beautiful and moving and completely new. I have a few minor quibbles with surface details (maybe five, all in the last twenty or so pages), but otherwise I am completely satisfied. I'm sure lots of you have read it, so instead of going on this time, I will simply ask you to comment that I may read your reactions to the book.

    Only one note, unlike other deserving properties, this book is being turned into a Peter Jackson movie. I'm very excited. Even if it does have Mark Wahlberg in it.

    over a week

009) American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, finished LDotFMotNY
    Okay. I see now why everyone loves this book, why it's won so many awards. It's fantastic.

    AMC by GLYCoincidentally, for a class I'm taking, today I also read an article about Asian Americans and the issues they deal with in the American education system. The two things played well off each other.

    Also: I can't believe there are so many jerks in the world.

    Anyway, great book, quick read. I'm impressed it pulled together as well as it did. I expected none of that.

    maybe eight hours

'The Infinite Column' by Constantin Brâncuşi 008) Zombification: Stories from National Public Radio by Andrei Codrescu, finished January 22
    This book was the perfect bedside reader. Most of the essays are just over half a page and most of them are quite good. If you're familiar with Codrescu, you can even hear him read them to you as your eyes pass over the page.

    These essays were originally for NPR and were recorded from the end of Reagan to the beginning of Clinton. A time, for a native Romanian / naturalized American / lefty poet, of great interest. The bursting forth of freedom (closely followed by fascism) in his native land. A governmental attack on art in America. Lots of weird, weird crap. But still lots of great people all over the world. And a bit of talk about allegedly super-famous sculptures by Romanians I've never heard of.

    fifteen months

007) Marriage Lines: Notes of a Student Husband by Ogden Nash, finished January 22
    One expects Ogden Nash to deliver snickers, teehees and the occasional belly laugh. This book delivers. What one might not expect is the sort of emotional depth some of these poems dole out with generous lovingness.

    Ogden Nash is awesomer than you think.

    Perfect for reading together in bed.

    less than one month

006) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, finished January 20
    I finished this book with about five minutes to spare before the movie began on PBS. And then the power went out. Dang it.

    Northanger Abbey is not a book that was ever on my radar until my buddy Lovecraft told me about it. And ever since I've been anxious to read it.

    First, N.A. is NOT a parody of gothic novels, as I had somehow come to expect. It is instead, as Lovecraft states, a satire. Important distinction. But it's not satisfied with being merely a satire either. Instead, it becomes....let's call it a "real" gothic novel. In other words, it takes the hightened yowziness of the gothic tale and recasts it as something that could actually happen. At least, in the midlands. In Italy, of course, the gothic tale is completely possible.

    If you do want to read something more parody-like, Neil Gaiman, in Fragile Things, has an excellent tale called "Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the House of the Night of Dread Desire."

    If you want to read a good Austen novel, N.A will meet that need. But Persuasion is better. (I still can't vouch for any of the others. Though they make pretty good movies. This one comes first to mind.)

    seven days



  1. I was also hesitant to read TLB because of the hype, but I ended up loving it too. It also still sticks in my head a year later.

    I also loved ABC, but felt it a little short. I need to read it again.

    We read Northanger Abby for a film & lit class at BYU, but it's been a while. I agree that it's satire. And the most recent adaptation was not all that bad. I agree about Persuasion, although I just reread Emma for this month's bookgroup and found myself thinking that it is also one of Austen's best.

  2. TLB, I really liked it until the end. It just lost me - too suddenly off the radar.

  3. I purposefully avoid TLB until after Alice Sebold visited my college (that would have been almost two years ago . . .) and then I was actually so impressed and intrigued by her that I had to read the book.

    It was one of the best things I read, though I would have definitely preferred she end it sooner.

    (Incidentally, there was a standard Q & A session after her reading and short speech at Weber, and somebody asked her why--in TLB and her memoir Lucky she wrote about rape. Her answer: "Well, all of the puppies and flowers were taken. And I knew something about this."

  4. .

    I love how the book offers so much to talk about.

    And, on a slightly different angle, I felt like this killer's experience had so many creepy parallels with my own that he was the most human serial killer I've ever read.

    But the most scary-real is still Joyce Carol Oates's in Zombie. Scariest Book Ever.