Thursday, 10 September 2009

Book reviews!

Confession: I love when we do book reviews. Why? Because I'm busy (lazy). So just like last time, these are the books I read in May, June, July, and August (aught-nine), and subsequently reviewed at Collective favorite, Goodreads.

Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman, and boy howdy did I ever go on and on about this one. In Klosterman I found a new drinking buddy, someone I could laugh with and argue with and generally overthink everything from the apocalyptic cultural implications of Speidi to the sublimity that is the sound of blades on a perfect sheet of ice. I gave this 5 stars and yelled at everyone I know for not telling me to read him sooner.

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, another book I was inspired to read due to cable television. I happened to catch the movie starring Eric Stoltz and Gillian Anderson a.k.a. Dana Scully a.k.a. my long-term girl crush, and absolutely could not think of anything else until I picked up the novel and read it for myself. And bow howdy was I glad I did. Wharton certainly has a way with words, and she uses a whole lot of different ones, too. I gave this 5 stars and wondered why I had avoided her for so many years.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, which I think anyone I went to school with would be really surprised to learn that I had actually never read before. I just love the story (or at least what I thought was the story), that idea of growing up not as a passage of time but as a series of choices one makes, that even into adulthood your childlike whimsy is always there if you know where to look for it. But that's not what this book was about at all. Or, at least mostly. My review, in its entirety: Man, kids are little bitches. 3 stars.

Wise Blood: A Novel by Flannery O'Connor, which I hated. I said this on Goodreads and I'll say it again here, y'all are gonna have to tell me how the short stories are and how they relate to Lost, because I really do not see myself reading Flannery O'Connor again anytime soon. 1 star.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris was hilarious. Duh. I kept reading the funny parts out loud to my boyfriend, who, in turn, would tell me to shut up already so he could watch the telly. Because there were a whole lot of funny parts (twss). 4 stars.

Black Mischief by Evelyn Waugh continues my steady trek through the Waugh repertoire. Alex recommended Brideshead last year and it completely blew my face off, and since then, just like Vizzini recommended I went back to the beginning. And found myself completely surprised by what an accomplished satirist Waugh was. If you have any interest in early modern British history, this book is for you. 3 stars.

Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace convinced me I had no business following the masses into their Infinite Summer. I am not smart enough for David Foster Wallace, but I did find this book amusing, even if I couldn't understand out why. 3 stars.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, which, judging from the number of comments I got everyone in the entire freaking world had already read except for me. And it was just as terrifying as everyone in the entire freaking world said. I gave it 3 stars and wished there were fewer commas in the book.

Hot Water Music by Charles Bukowski is entirely about books and booze, and definitively proved that Bukowski > Kerouac > Brautigan. 4 stars.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon is one that I'd had my eye on for years, but completely avoided for reasons that make me sound like a bad person so I'll not discuss them further. I found it an enjoyable-enough read and gave it 3 stars.

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut is as awesome as you'd expect (it is Vonnegut, after all). But the ending? EVEN AWESOMER. 4 stars.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was incredible. Just amazing. And depressing as hell. 5 stars.

Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota by Chuck Klosterman is best explained by the author himself: It's also fun to get drunk and cry during "Open Arms," and maybe even call your ex-girlfriend and apologize for things that actually happened in an altogether different relationship with an altogether different person. Just trust me on this one. Steve Perry is a fucking genius. 4 stars.

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton is another book I had to read because I caught the movie on cable television. I came across that old Scorsese flick and was completely overwhelmed by the NEED to read this. I'm serious, I couldn't think of anything else for days. I gave it 4 stars because I'm a sucker for an unhappy(ish) ending.

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray was really fucking long. And heavy. And hurt my wrists every time I tried to read it for an extended period of time. I babbled about Chuck Klosterman and gave it 2 stars.

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf is one that I read ages ago, and picked up in preparation for the next book. It was incredibly intricate and moving, but I only gave it 3 stars because I am easily confused. (My fault, not Woolf's.)

The Hours by Michael Cunningham totally resonated, like in a scary HOLY SHIT MY LIFE IS A LIE kind of way. 4 stars.

and finally

Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story by Chuck Klosterman, which I enjoyed far more than any book I've read in a really long time. It was witty, and fun, and a little sad, and a lot nerdy, and pretty much everything I aspire to be on a daily basis. I completely devoured this book in one sitting, and gave it 5 stars (duh).

Believe it or not, that's it. (I KNOW.) I need to get me some other hobbies or something.

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