Tuesday, July 1, 2008

June's book list

This month's book list was pretty great. I enjoyed myself, and will continue to take a break from the Chronicles of Narnia.

Bombeck, Erma. Family: The Ties That Bind...And Gag!. New York: Fawcett Crest, 1987. Erma Bombeck is hilarious and insightful and awesome. Some of the stuff is a little dated now, but that's the best we're going to get. So I enjoyed her and laughed out loud for the better part of a weekend while reading this.

Byatt, A.S. Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice. New York: Random House, 1998.* The quest to read every A.S. Byatt book in the Main Library continues.

Gilbert, Sandra and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979.* Once upon a time, when I was taking British Novel as a terrified young sophomore, Dr. Prewitt assigned several chunks of this work as additional reading and would recommend it to us when we were writing papers and doing the dreaded student-teaching portions of the class (I picked one of the weeks we covered Middlemarch. I was an idiot.). I was really impressed with Gilbert and Gubar and the way they looked at writers and characters and always wanted to read the book in its entirety. I didn't have time in college, and then I couldn't find a copy after graduation. Finally, 5 years later, everything fell into place and the library had its copy on the shelves on the day I was there. So I checked it out and began reading.....and finished it Sunday, 3 months after checking it out and renewing several times. It's great. It's interesting. It was my first exposure to feminist criticism and so I'll always hold it up pretty high just for that. But it's a really good source to think about when reading anything by or about women, or when examining the assumptions surrounding creative women and what those assumptions mean. This gets a really long write-up because it was a really long book (over 750 pages with the endnotes and index). Yes, I'm bragging.

Hesse, Herman. Siddhartha. Trans. Hilda Rosner. 1922. New York: MJF Books, 1992. Well, I'd seen several cool kids list this as a favorite book on their myspaces, so I'd figured it was either a great book, or the type of thing you want people to think you read. Either way, I was interested in it because I could've sworn I'd heard important things about Hesse somewhere and couldn't remember why he was important. So I bought the book on a Barnes & Noble date after yet another pointless trip to Lowe's and stuck it in my purse and began reading it. It was good. That's really all I can say. Am I cool, yet? No? Okay then.

Kundera, Milan. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Trans. Michael Henry Heim. 1984. New York: HarperCollins, 1999. Again, this was one of those books that I'd heard good things about and didn't remember what the good things were. But: we got some money for Christmas from my parents and bought books that weren't on sale with some of the funds. Since I'd seen Kevin Brockmeier reference it in a few interviews as being great, and I liked the cover and title, I bought it and just now read it. I started it on the trip to North Carolina and finished it a week later. It was touching. It's about too many things for me to say what it's about, but it's a few love stories and touches on civil unrest and Communism and self-perception and there's a dog, too. There's a reason it's on Kevin Brockmeier's top fifty list (yes, I have a copy. He was giving them out to anyone who was interested at the literary festival a few years ago.).

Simon, Leslie and Trevor Kelley. Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture. New York: Harper Entertainment, 2007. Cody borrowed this from Spencer, and then I stole it from Cody so that I could read it before he did. I know this is supposed to be funny, but I was a little irritated with it for a few reasons. One of the reasons was that I dislike emo things. I don't really enjoy the hair, the clothes, the music, or the constant need for attention that you try to get through showcasing your emotions in a really passionate and annoying way. (This is also why I'm scared of praise and worship services.) As a result, the super exhaustive, yet tongue-in-cheek, overview seemed a little tedious.

The second, and more horrifying, reason was because I recognized nearly. every. single. band. they talked about. We're not just talking about the stuff that made to the soundtrack of The O.C. No. Nearly everything. Why? Because sometimes my CDs wind up in Cody's CD case, and I have to flip through his stuff to get to mine and I can't avert my eyes entirely. We won't even talk about the car trips together where he tries to force that lifestyle on me. But yes, even though I'd denied it ever since we started dating (I didn't even know husky kids could be emo! His size made him seem too substantial for that kind of pitiful behavior.), but yeah, Cody is a little emo. Or maybe he just likes the music. Either way, I'm just grateful that he doesn't wear eyeliner. Gah. Funny book. I hope we haven't lost it. Because we can't find it now. Sorry!

There you have it: June's book list in MLA format. As always, library books are marked by an asterisk.