nutshell book reviews

I feel like this should be a time of getting things done. Of finishing things that I won’t have much time for once the Peanut arrives in 3-D. And instead I’m laying in bed, my creativity squashed by physical misery, watching the rain outside of the window like a cat. So the obvious task to tackle was the reading of all the books on my to-read shelf. And because I’m a book geek and because a number of you showed interest when I posted the last “year in books” post, I thought I’d give you a run down of the fodder keeping my synapses firing in these slow, rainy months. Perhaps you have read some of the same and can offer me your thoughts in the comments. Someone has to help me keep this brain from turning itself off completely. Otherwise both it and this blog are going to dissolve into mush.

My mission started with Volume Three of The Collected Short Stories of Philip K. Dick. Wow. Wow. Did I say “wow”? I’ve read almost all of Dick’s novels, but had, until very recently, never delved into his short stories. (For those of you unfamiliar with his work, he writes science fiction with a very critical-of-the-status-quo bent.) If you could say I admired him before, now you could say that I’ve sold him my soul. Short story writing was clearly his forte. And to think I’d ignored this part of his work until now! And all because I don’t like how, once I’ve finally fallen under the spell of a short story, it’s already over and generally avoid them. (This from a writer and reader of blogs. Ha!)

Simultaneously I attempted to read A Language Older Than Words by Derrick Jensen, a task at which I failed miserably. I like Jensen’s work and agree with much of what he has to say, but I find that I currently cannot handle that which is devoid of hope. And if anything makes me feel hopeless it is reading about the downward spiral of environmental devastion being wrought on the world this very second, which is kind of what all of his books are about. I feel nauseaus often enough lately as it is.

Instead I’ve been delving into novels, the first significant pause in a long period of nonfiction-based reading and ode to my desire to escpae the dreary present. I’ve read Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas (captivating and full of interesting questions), listened to I, Robot by Isaac Asimov and Eragon by Christopher Poalini (Asimov was alright, Poalini was irritating), and re-read Coraline by Neil Gaimon (charmingly grotesque). I then moved on to Pippi Langstocking by Astrid Lindgren (fantastic anarchistic children’s books) and Native Son by Richard Wright (a captivating story and a disturbing reminder of how fucked up the racism of the mid 21st century was). And now? Now I am anxiously sitting by the mailbox, waiting for several boxes of books that will make the task of finishing the to-read shelf futile, but even more fun.

What are you reading?

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Friday August 12th 2011, 8:34 am 6 Comments
Filed under: books,conspiracies

6 Comments so far. Please leave a comment.

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, but just today I got the 3rd and final book of The Hunger Games from the library. The library label says “Teen Fiction” hahaaaa.

Comment by Frugal Vegan Mom 08.12.11 @ 10:31 pm

two comments: interestingly, I worked for the company that brought Coraline to the screen (LAIKA); that was the company from which I was laid off in September 2009 (just Small World, huh?) and….

don’t think that the racism of the sixties is dead…..they’re not just brown-skinned now…they’re everybody who doesn’t think like you do, on the small scale, and everybody who doesn’t have as much money as you on the large scale.

By the way- your book titles give me a headache and make me feel like I’m not smart enough to read the same stuff you do. Just sayin’.

I, for one, am going to bed with the current book: To Kill A Mockingbird”. Seen the movies several times and loved it- love the book more.

Hope you feel better soon, and if not, you really need to find a small pot connection. Just a a very wee bit. good grief – it’s medicine!

Comment by paula 08.13.11 @ 7:44 am

Frugal Vegan Mom–DO NOT be embarrassed to be reading Mockingjay! Those books are incredible! Teen fiction knows what it’s doing (most of the time), and Suzanne Collins is fantastic.

I am finishing On the Road for the second time. It’s so funny to read a book twice and feel so differently about the characters the second time around (much like with Catcher in the Rye).

Comment by Jill 08.14.11 @ 8:49 pm

Frugal Vegan Mom: Jill beat me to saying just what I was about to say anyway…don’t be embarassed about reading those books. Those books are frickin AMAZING. I love them so much I actually purchased the box set brand new, which is something I don’t usually do. Heh. Enjoy the last one. Oh man. What good books.

Paula: Whoa, really small world. What did you do there?

Don’t worry, I don’t think that the racism of the 60s is dead. It does seem to have changed clothes though. Not that that makes it any better.

WHAT?!?! Those book titles make ya feel like you wouldn’t be smart enough to read ‘em? From reading your blog, I highly doubt it. The only one that I would even remotely call intellectual (though I don’t feel it’s challenging reading, just the more dense of the philosophical on that list) is the Jensen book. I suppose all of them are intellectual in their way, but all of them are also in an incredibly easy to read narrative format.

I know I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird, but it’s been a long time. Can’t seem to recall if I liked it or not. Just that I had to read it for a literature class.

As for pot, I frickin hate smoking pot. Used to do so a lot, and then it started giving me panic attacks as hangovers. That was about when I gave that up. Doesn’t do anything for me anymore except make me feel uncomfortable and then, the next day, really awful. I envy those capable of enjoying its medicinal qualities.

Comment by clickclackgorilla 08.15.11 @ 10:13 am

Last night I read A Winter On Earth, by Joe Enzwieler. I’ve also been reading Womans Anatomy of Desire by Sheri Winston and Susun Weeds new Down There book. Do you have Susun Weeds pregnancy book?

Comment by Tara 08.18.11 @ 10:17 pm

Tara: Those books sound good. My “want to read list” is way too long. I wish that there was a version of Netflix for books. That would solve my problem with the English-language section of the Mainz library sucking.

I do have Susan Weeds pregnancy book, just finished reading it through actually and am finally getting down to figuring out what various herbs are called in German and finding them in my backyard. Good times. Am trying to figure out who Germany’s Susan Weed is, but the library seems to only contain cheesy and nonhelpful herbals. Got to work on that.

Comment by clickclackgorilla 08.22.11 @ 12:00 pm




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