Friday, August 09, 2013

Books Read in 2013 (so far...)

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
Such a strange story. Very unexpected and unusual. Ethereal.

The Almond, Nedjma
Everybody needs to read this. I consumed it in a day or two. It's about a Muslim woman and her sexual awakening. Not pornographic, even if people think or assume so! (People really think this about the book!) A glimpse into another culture in which everything that happens in that book is taboo.

Farewell, Dorothy Parker, Ellen Meister
This is a nice fluffy, beach read. That's about it.

The Tiger’s Wife, Tea Obreht
Loved this. A little late to the party on this one. Loved the mythology of it, the Eastern European style and sound of it.

Black Milk, Elif Shafak
A very real, honest account on motherhood, post-partum depression, creativity and how they all work (but mostly not work) together. It wasn't just a book about a mother battling depression and baby blues. What society expects a mother do do, that conflicts with the demands of writing. So good. She wrote The Bastard of Istanbul. Another great book.

White Teeth, Zadie Smith
Late getting to this one as well. The first book of hers I have read. I loved the diversity of it. There's about three different stories to it, following three different families that eventually intertwine with each other. The characters seemed very real. I hated having to end it.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz

This Is How You Lose Her, Junot Diaz

A Light in the Attic, Shel Silverstein
This was with my daughter. She's a big fan. And, I was happy she was reading poetry.

Drown, Junot Diaz

Lunch Lady series (YA)
I love reading this. Love reading it to  my daughter. Totally funny.

One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child and the Joy of Being One, Lauren Sandler
The author of this book got a lot of backlash about it. I related to a lot of it, having an only child. The main thing that strikes me (in a general way) is the fact that society expects women to just have kids-more than one. And then, when they don't they get a lot of crap for it. I know I have. Anyway! Good book.

Harry Potter series (4 books)
Who hasn't read this series?

Ploughshares, Tin House, Hunger Mountain, various other literary journals

The Price of Stones: Building a School In my Village,Twesigye Kaguri
This was an amazing book. All about this man who builds a school in Uganda for AIDS orphans. It basically follows him through the process of building it and the troubles he has trying to get it going. Bribes, government blocking development, lack of funding, tribal disputes, etc.

Various YA Graphic Novels (must be at least 30) Here are some:
-Rapunzel's Revenge
-Binky, the space cat (too funny!)
-Warriors series, Erin Hunter
-Calamity Jack
-Amulet series (5)
-The Secret of the Stone Frog
-Rainbow Magic Fairies series (there has to be at least 25 of these so far)
-Avatar series

Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim, David Sedaris
David Sedaris. That's all you need to say. Anything he writes is good.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander
You think racism is dead in America? That having a black president proves we have moved on? Hardly. It only takes on different forms. She talks about how incarceration is the new social control for black men, and other events (war on drugs in particular) that were designed, but not openly acknoweldged, as a racial social control. Pretty eye-opening.

In the House, Upon the Dirt, Between the Lake and Forest, Matt Bell
Man, this was the weirdest, most surreal book I have ever read. I can't even put it into words.

Writing as a Way of Healing: How telling our stories transforms our lives, Louise DeSalvo
Came to this very, very late. This book had such a profound effect on me, that I was able to work out a rough draft writing project of a health issue I have rarely, if ever, acknowledged. It poured out and now I am revising it. Also, this book is heavily underlined.

Good Prose: the Art of Nonfiction, Tracy Kidder & Richard Todd
I read it, but was distracted. I'm sure if I wasn't, I'd have liked it more.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames, David Sedaris
Again, Sedaris. This one had me laughing so hard I cried. Absolute fits of laughter. People were looking at me weird.

Holidays on Ice, David Sedaris
This wasn't my favorite, but I don't hold it against him.

Best American Short Stories 2011 & 2012
Some good ones in here. Some that caught my eye (2011): Excerpt from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's novel, "Americanah" (someday I will finish the entire novel! Keep checking it out from the library and never finish before it's due), "Housewifely Arts" by Megan Meyhew Bergman, "Free Fruit For Young Widows" by Nathan Englander. That one made me want to read more of the story. For real. An excerpt from Jennifer Egan's book, "A Visit From the Goon Squad." I...wasn't very interested in it and the excerpt didn't make me want to read the book. Is that kind of...blasphemous?

Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave, Marianna Meyer and Kinuko Y. Craft
This is a children's book, but holy crap. The illustrations are insanely scary-well, the ones of Baba Yaga and her hut. It creeped me out bad. No telling what it would do to a 6 year old. It's basically a re-telling of the Cinderella story.The illustrations are awesome. Very detailed, lush illustrations in that distinctive Russian design. Vasalisa and Baba Yaga are an eastern european story/myth. I've read a few stories on both of them (and actually heard some from family when growing up), but this book really had it. You can see the book and illustrations here.

Journal of a Solitude, May Sarton
Just getting around to this one too.  I'm half-and-half on it for two reasons: 1) amazing observations on solitude, creativity, etc. I have pulled many passages from the book into my journal. 2) There is SO MUCH solitude within the book. I feel like I need to go out and talk to people madly just to combat the silence after reading a few chapters. But, good overall.
Check out previous lists! Hopefully, you'll get inspired to read a few!

Books I Read 2011
Books I Read in 2010
Books I read 2006-9/2012

Also, I cataloged my entire library in 2006. Take a look for more recommendations:

My Own Library, part 1
My Own Library, Part 2
My Own Library, Part 3
My Own Library, Part 4
My Own Library, Part 5

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