Friday, July 11, 2014

June Ins and Outs: What I Bought and Read Last Month

June Ins and Outs

June reading was full of both triumphs and disappointments.

Dark Places was extremely engrossing; I liked it even better than Gone Girl, which so many people raved about, and I'm eager to read Gillian Flynn's other novel, Sharp Objects.

Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down was every bit as good as About a Boy and High Fidelty (which is to say awesome) with the bonus that I hadn't already seen the movie so I didn't know where the plot was going.

I tore through Astonish Me faster than I've torn through anything in a while. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in ballet and anyone who loves a good multi-generational, multi-narrator story.

I listened to Meryl Streep read The Testament of Mary. It might be the world's perfect audiobook. Her performance is incredible and the language of the book is so poetic and arresting. Plus, the whole thing is only three and a half hours. I listened to it one morning at work while prepping for inventory, and I've been re-listening to it as I fall asleep most nights since then. I keep picturing Streep performing it was a one-woman show. Now that would bring down the house!

Shine Shine Shine, a very strange and strangely beautiful book made me realize that one of my favorite "cross-genres" is "science-fiction-romance". Her and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind are two of my favorite movies, and Shine Shine Shine shares their strange loveliness and sense of futuristic intimacy.

Attachments is a sweet and breezy love story. I really liked how, just as in Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park, the main characters aren't typical romantic-comedy-leading-man-and-woman types. The woman is described several times as having "very wide hips" which the man finds attractive, and his social life is mainly comprised of playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Since Catherine Called Birdy is still one of my favorite books of all time (and another that I like to listen to, tuning in and out, as I fall asleep), I've made an effort lately to check out Karen Cushman's other work. Unfortunately, I found The Midwife's Apprentice to be so boring that I didn't even finish it. Figuring that it might be because that book was aimed at an even younger audience than Catherine Called Birdy, I decided to give Matilda Bone a try. It was better, but it just didn't hit me the way Catherine Called Birdy did. Maybe it's simply because I'm an adult now. But, since I still get a kick out of Catherine Called Birdy, I think it's more likely because Matilda Bone isn't as funny and because the main character struggles to overcome piousness and narrow-mindedness, which isn't as interested as watching Catherine strive to find her place in the world, tempering her wildness without losing herself.

I knew Dead Until Dark would be trashy, but I thought it would be more fun. The camp wasn't tempered with anything more substantial like it is in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and, while I liked the setting, I didn't find any of the characters to be very interesting.

Them was good but didn't blow me away like Ronson's The Psychopath Test did. I'm really looking forward to the book he's working on now about public shaming. I think that topic is right in the zone of what he does really well, and the specificity of it will keep it tighter that Them, a book about extremists (defined as anyone who has been called an "extremist").

While I enjoyed the photos and doodles in Alexa Chung's It, I didn't enjoy the meandering substancelessness. I did, however, enjoy the opportunity to use the word "substancelessness" just now.

We closed on our house on June 25th, so I bought a few decorating books and I've reaquested about 20 more from the library. More to come soon on what our new house and this new stage of life will mean for the blog. I'm excited!

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