Monday, September 12, 2005

What I've been reading

The First Verse by Barry McCrea.
Allegra received this from my parents for her birthday after a recommendation from her college literature prof. But I snagged it and read it first. This book is captivating, but was especially enjoyable having spent time in Dublin. It is about a young gay man starting his studies at Trinity (where Allegra went on study abroad). Things go as expected as first: Much time in pubs, eating in the cafeteria and his first foray into a gay club (The George, where I met "Panti," an Irish drag queen that rewrote "Ring of Fire" to be a song about hemmorroids). But things take a dramatic turn when he finds him on the cusp of (and eventually fully entrenched in) a literary cult. May be one of the only novels to describe gay nightlife in Dublin.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie.
Watching Finding Neverland made me want to read this again. The last time I read Peter Pan was in a Fantasy and Children's Literature course I took while on study abroad. I'd forgotten I had underlined sections of the book when I was reading it for class. Funny to see a children's book with key passages highlighted in such an academic manner. I guess I thought I was deep and insightful when I recognized the crocodile's ticking clock for the metaphor that it is.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.
Safran Foer is an ambitious young writer who tackled the subject of the Holocaust in his first book, Everything is Illuminated (motion picture version starring Frodo to be released later this month) and September 11th in this book. As soon as you flip through this book for the first time, you know you are in for a special reading experience. The author includes cryptic photographs of doorknobs, exteriors of buildings and other images amongst his tale of boy's search for the lock that matches a key he finds in his dad's closet after his father was killed in the WTC. I read it in 2 days and promptly flipped to the beginning and read it again.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling.
Sniffle. I'm still in mourning. Went to the midnight release party and finished it 27 hours later.

The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas by Davy Rothbart
I picked this up during jury duty to kill time during our long waits in the hallway outside the courtroom. I chose because it is by fellow Ann Arbor native and founder of Found Magazine, Davy Rothbart. Overall the stories held my attention, but I was occasionally jolted away from the story by the insertion of some metaphor or phrase that seemed straight out of Creative Writing 101. It was almost as if the author was like, "Hmm, haven't written anything real 'artsy' in a couple pages, better get on that." For example: "We loaded him gingerly but hastily into the backseat as if he were a rare piano stool we'd smuggled from the warehouse at an estate auction" (italics mine).

The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell. This book is actually more typical of what I read. The previous selections would indicate otherwise, but you usually find me in the nonfiction section of the library or bookstore. I'm a "This American Life" fanatic. I've seen Sarah Vowell, David Sedaris and Ira Glass speak. I smile every time I remember getting my book signed by David Sedaris. Anyways, creative nonfiction rules, including this collection of essays by Vowell. Only she can have a reader laughing out loud in the Jury assembly room by describing her tour of presidential libraries. And no, the irony of the notion of a "partly cloudy patriot" in the jury assembly room was not lost on me.

No comments: