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.
Coincidentally, 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
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.
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.)
005) The Salmon of Doubt:: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time by Douglas Adams, finished January 14
004) Lord of the Flies by William Golding, finished January 10
003) Rising Sun by Michael Crichton, finished January 7
002) The Marketing of Sister B by Linda Hoffman Kimball, finished January 2
001) Animal Farm by George Orwell, finished January 1