Tuesday, June 28, 2011

An Aside - Whatcha Reading?

This has nothing (at least explicitly) to do with lesbian baby making or two Mom parenting, but I'm dying to know what you're reading.  It's almost July and I have yet to have a truly satisfying summer read.  I am in a slump.  There is no need to summarize or provide commentary unless the spirit moves you, but it would be great fun if you would leave the titles of two books (or 1 or 5) that really knocked your socks off in the comments.  This could be something you read last week or last year or when you were in high school.  The only requirement is that it be a book (or books :) ) that you think everyone should read.

I'll start.




Nadeem Aslam's _The Wasted Vigil_ - It's an investment, but well worth it. Set in contemporary Afghanistan, the narrative weaves American, British, Russian, and Afghani perspectives together over decades of violence and failed alliances. Aslam's fiction is stunningly visual.

A handful of book-loves:

Native Speaker (Chang Rae Lee)
Middlesex (Jeffrey Eugenides)
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Jonathon Saffran Foer)
Let the Great World Spin (Colum McAnn)
Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston)
The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)

Your first one is on my list.
If anyone wants a fun romp, read How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical Theater. There's also a sequel.

schroe is right about middlesex, though i think everything is illuminated is better than extremely loud. almost everything by margaret atwood; i think my favorites are the robber bride, blind assassin, year of the flood. OOOO! and louise erdrich, especially the master butcher singing club and plague of doves. ann patchett's bel canto; jim crace's being dead.

jhumpa lahiri's interpreter of maladies and doctorow's lives of the poets are two of my favorite books of short stories.

if you're at all open to nonfiction, i think you (and everybody) should read ian frazier's great plains and also Family.

sugar is reading middlemarch for the 150th time this summer; i'm indulging in the patrick o'brian novels. also the immortal life of henriette lacks.

I've never heard of Nadeem Aslam. Thanks! I love to find a new (to me) author.

Middlesex is one of my all time favorite reads! Love it. Let the Great World Spin has been on my list for awhile, perhaps now is the time. :)

Have you discovered T Cooper's /Lipshitz 6, Or Two Angry Blondes/? Based on the interests I've seen you express throughout your blog, I think you'd really enjoy it. Especially the second part of the narration (there's a radical narrative shift about two thirds of the way through). That part is first-person via the writer who supposedly wrote the first half, a character named T Cooper, though there are lots of differences between the real writer and this character, so it's definitely all fiction. Anyway, I'd LOVE to someday get your take on the character of T Cooper. And the first half is an immigration narrative that reads easily and fluidly, almost like summer reading, though there's a lot going on there. Plus, T Cooper is beautiful in a way that I think you and I understand. And there are issues of lesbian (he's sort of trans, but not exactly, and for unexpected reasons) conception at the end that tie hypermasculinity (of the Eminem variety), American immigration, and 9/11 together in fascinating ways.

I LOVE to read! I'm an English professor at a local community college at night and literature is super important to me. On my blog, I keep a list of books that my book club is reading (and has read) over the years. You can find it at http://myothercarisacrane.blogspot.com/p/reading-group-picks.html . Do NOT, for the love of God, read "Eat, Pray, Love". Just say no.

The last book we read was a memoir titled "The Glass Castle". I heard the author, Jeanette Walls, speak at an event last month and she was hysterical. I'd highly suggest that.

Also, a couple of my personal faves that you won't find on that list are "The Red Tent" by Anita Diamante and "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Seabold.

Are you on goodreads? There's a link to my goodreads reviews on the left hand side of my blog.

Oh yeah- here's a link to a review of books that I read last year: http://myothercarisacrane.blogspot.com/2011/01/30-by-30-30-read-12-books-post-review.html .

I've rambled enough. :)

Have a great day!

Ohhh...if you read it, I would love to hear what you think. I don't know anyone who has and I'm dying to hear someone else's response!

A "fun romp". That is hilarious. I am ALWAYS identified in the game Balderdash bc of my inability not to use phrases like "a wild romp" or "a compelling adventure" in movie and book reviews. :)

Thanks for the great list! I love non-fiction and haven't read Ian Frazier. Another great idea!

Yogi and I got this message at the library while standing in front of a display featuring this book. Meant to be!!! :) I have never heard of T Cooper and the story sound fabulous. Score! Also, at the risk of being flip and minimizing the work (which I haven't gotten into yet, obviously) ..... the author photo on the dust jacket? Hello! T is quite easy on the eyes. ;)

Oh, one more, perhaps my all time favorite nonfiction: A Primate's Memoir by Robert Sapolsky.
[...okay ONE more...]
Also, Oliver Sacks, anything.
And Calvin Trillan.

*sigh* SO many books, so little time...

What wonderful timing! I was first introduced to T Cooper's work before he had actually transitioned, and I think he was even sexier then, but still: good looking and smart. And both T (the character) and Esther (from the first half) are big parts of my motherhood chapter, so I'm super excited to hear your thoughts. I teach that novel in an American culture class, and my students all crucify Esther for being a bad mother. I don't think she'd win any awards or a
anything, but it breaks my heart that they can't see her as more complicated and less "bad."

It's hard to list just a few isn't it?! So limiting. ;)

Cool that you heard Jeanette Walls speak! I enjoyed that book and always like to hear writers talk about their work.

Off to check out your list!

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