Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer Reading List (so far...)

Here’s my list so far, but I am desperate for ideas for summer reading. Can you help me find a book that takes place by the ocean or somewhere exotic and tropical? Something like The Life of Pi, The Wide Sargasso Sea, or Island of the Blue Dolphins (a childhood favorite)? Please please comment if you know of a good one!

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
—I loved this book. It’s a graphic novel of Iran in the 1980s to 1990s of the life of a girl from childhood to adulthood as she survived revolution, failed relationships, misogynistic oppression, and her fierce loyalty to her family and her struggle with patriotic identity. Not as poignant as the Maus books nor as climactic, this book still gave a great snapshot of what it must have been like to live this girl’s life and, as a graphic novel will, once you get to reading it’s hard to put down because the pictures and words almost flicker to life so it’s like you’re watching a movie rather than reading thought bubbles. I highly recommend.

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker
—A book club pick for May; I’m not loving it but neither do I hate it. The author uses metaphors that shouldn’t work but do. It’s about two sisters, one beautiful and one so big that she’s a veritable giant in height and breadth living in the country and has a touch of magic realism, like the movie “Big Fish” or something.

Vanity Fair by William Thackeray
—I watched the movie starring Reese Witherspoon and was reminded how much I enjoyed this fabulously lush social commentary satirizing 19th century Britain. I can’t believe how many similarities lie between that period and today and it’s little comfort to know that the world of 1850s Britain bears such a close resemblance to our present vanity fair (taken from John Bunyan’s allegorical story The Pilgrim’s Progress where vanity fair describes a countryside where vanity and worship of worldly things is king). What would Thackery have said about Glamour and Vogue magazine, I wonder? This book is absolutely wonderful. I have much left to read but I love what I’ve finished.

Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
—Had higher hopes; it’s basically junk food lit but I promised an old friend I no longer have contact with that I would read it. Not something I’d widely recommend, but if one must read it, summer is certainly the season. It’s about a woman who left her southern hometown to get away from her past and the oppression of small-town life but is summoned back though she swore she’d never return. She brings back a boyfriend her family will highly disapprove of and has to cope with the secret she left behind and decide whether to divulge it to those closest to her or bury it deeper inside. I’m not quite finished with this one but will push through. I has good momentum, but I’m lacking connection with the characters.

Never Let Me Goby Kazuo Ishiguro
—Recommended by a coworker, Kori, I can’t wait to read this sci-fi book that landed itself among the TIME 100 best English-language novels between 1923–2005. It sounds a little like that movie with Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johannson did, “The Island” but much more sophisticated. It’s about a boarding school where the students are clones of real-world owners who had them created in order to harvest compatible body parts if necessary to extend the owner’s life should disease or calamity strike. I am such a sucker for dystopian novels and I can’t wait to read this highly acclaimed piece.

Naked by David Sedaris
—Hmm, I read one of the excerpts of this book in a college English class and I was one of the few who was actually not in love with his prose. I don’t find his humor especially titillating but I think it would be good for me to read his style of writing for something different. I also plan to read Dress Your Family in Denim and Corduroy at some point.

The Hummingbird’s Daughterby Luis Alberto Urrea
—I know little about this book or its plot, but I know it took the author two decades to write it (that’s five years less how long I’ve been alive!). I believe it will be a magic realism novel—something about a girl dying and coming back to life and being able to form milagros (miracles) of healing. It’s a long ‘un so we’ll see if I get to it.

Books I said I would read but haven't yet (hopefully to be finished this summer):
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
Possession by A.S. Bryatt
Raise the Red Lantern by Su Tong (one third of the way through)
Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

I also <3 Persepolis! It's a great book, and was my first graphic novel read. Quite the art form, if you ask me...