Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Recent Reads


Last year I read a blog post where the author listed all the books she had read in 2009. Every last book, organized by genre, was briefly dissected and reviewed both for personal records and for the good of anyone looking over her shoulder, anxious for a thought-provoking or feel-good or informative read. I felt personally inspired to keep a log of my own reading, both because I'm curious and because I can't always remember the good ones to recommend later, but I didn't do anything about it. Then came the end of 2010, another blog post where author listed and dissected, and I still had no list.

2011: This is the year.

I figure the key to keeping such a list is to start early. While I'd like to have some organized system of book listing (by month, or every other month, or something to that effect), this is a totally random post approximately one third of the way through February. When will the next book post be? Your guess is as good as mine. So without further ado, here are the first three reads of 2011:

Great House: Nicole Krauss
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In the interest of not boring those that don't enjoy reading (or teach it for a living, as the case may be), I will sum this book up by saying that it is a web of stories. Krauss earned my affections when I read "The History of Love" in the summer of 2009 (which is not as chick-lit, cheesy as the title makes it out to be); her voice in writing is enchanting. Her characters are quirky and interesting, and her use of multiple first person narrators keeps things interesting, and rarely obvious. I would compare the book (loosely) to a show like Lost (which is a personal favorite): the characters are a part of a web of connections that they themselves are not completely aware of, and that you as the reader get to discover. I would recommend Krauss as a writer any day of the week.

Point Omega: Don Delillo
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This book made it on to my stack thanks indirectly to my boss. A book club was started at my school in the late fall, and this book was slated as the read for February's meeting. I did not vote for this book, would not have chosen this book, and read it because I am the student that feared showing up to class without my homework completed. I was (am?) quite sure it was (is?) a poor reflection of myself. Personal insecurities aside, I practically read the entire book the day of the book club meeting. How? It's only 120 pages, double spaced. For anyone that's read Delillo, this book fits. It's vague and philisophical and ends up where things started with little progress. I read part of "White Noise" in college as part of a Modern American Literature course and while his dark dreary statements about modern society are interesting, his stories lack the color I like to see in my reading. Maybe I'll start reading Delillo once every six years to stay current. That's really my only motivation to return to his writing.

The Outsiders: S. E. Hinton
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Through some tragedy in my middle school career, or so I'm told, I am just now reading this book. This may or may not have anything to do with the fact that I am teaching it, starting this week. With both this book and the above option looming over my head this weekend I opted for this one every time. The characters are fresh, the conflicts make me cringe, and it was written by a sixteen year old in the 60's. As I read it I find myself daydreaming about Mustangs and students that write beautiful published novels. As a teacher that knows that my students face some of the devastating situations in this book, I actually get somewhat depressed while I read it. The novel is about brokenness, and classism, and following social rules because the rules have always been followed. I hope that my students get sucked into the book the way I have, because I think there's a lot of potential.

That's it for now on "Book List 2011". Next up on the list?

Freedom: Jonathan Franzen

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I'm about 60 pages in, and I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

  1. omg. I love you. and I'm stealing this idea.

    I'm SO happy that you like Krauss, not so much on Delillo, have finally discovered The Outsiders and are now reading the book I'm dying to read!

    How about I start reading Freedom, too, and we'll have our own book club! Online! We can SKYPE IT!!!!

    Omg, that may be too much technology for us... lol. Let's do it!