Friday, September 23, 2011

summer reading

Now that Fall is officially here, some quick thoughts on what I read this summer...

I've found that I read so much faster now that I'm reading on my iPad, and I plowed through quite a few books these past few months:

Room by Emma Donoghue
Bossypants by Tina Fey
The Twisted Thread by Charlotte Bacon
Signs of Life by Natalie Taylor
Blood, Bones, & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
The Autobiography of an Execution by David Dow
Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
Just Kids by Patti Smith
After by Amy Efaw
Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt
Somewhere Inside by Laura Ling & Lisa Ling
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

My favorites: Blood, Bones, & Butter and Just Kids. These two books were actually very similar - memoirs that took place in New York City, one written by a chef, the other by a musician. Blood, Bones, & Butter is a cooking memoir - a favorite genre of mine. Just Kids was written by rocker Patti Smith about her relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe. (Yes, that Robert Mapplethorpe. I suggest not googling his work if you're in the office as you'll most likely lose your job. His photography is most definitely NSFW.) Anyway, I don't think many people know much about Mapplethorpe besides that he took, ahem, risque and controversial photographs, and that he died of AIDS. There is so much more to him than that sliver that defines his public image and he and Patti Smith are both fascinating characters. This actually may be one of the most educational books I've ever read - there was so much to learn about history, art, poetry, and music that I needed Wikipedia by my side to put it all together. Even though I knew what would happen at the end (Mapplethorpe died in 1989), I still sobbed when it was over. If you have any interest in art, music, or pop culture of the 60s and 70s, I highly recommend this book.

Speaking of educational, the only reason I checked out Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home was because it was actually available an an e-book from my local library and there wasn't a waiting list. I love that I can read library books on my iPad, but the waiting list for the most popular books is SO long. So I've been reading a lot of things that I might not have ordinarily picked up. Anyway, I found this book so interesting because I, like most Americans and most of the world, knew practically nothing about North Korea. I'm now a bit fascinated by this secretive and terrifying nation. I highly suggest watching Lisa Ling's Inside North Korea - made by National Geographic several years before Laura Ling was held captive.

Also, I hate to call a book about the death penalty a favorite, but The Autobiography of an Execution was excellent, fascinating, and thought-provoking. Also, a total tear jerker. Even though I knew what was going to happen (could a book like this really have a happy ending?), I still cried my face off at the end. Maybe such a dark and challenging topic isn't everyone's cup of tea (Larry is constantly making fun of the depressing books I read), but it's a really interesting and well-written book and I couldn't put it down until I had finished the entire thing.

Most of the others were summer fluff or, for some reason I got into reading young adult books this summer. Really it's because they were available without a wait from the library, but there's something nice about a fast, easy read that I can finish in less than a day.

My To Read list is still overflowing, so now that it's Fall, I can't wait to spend my evenings with a mug of hot chocolate, a dog at my feet, and a good book.

1 comment:

kb said...

shut the front door. charlotte bacon was my fiction professor in college...