I’ve read a mish-mash of books recently that I haven’t had the chance to review, so I thought I’d try to give some honest albeit quick thoughts on some of them here. So without further adieu, here are my random comments on the random books that I’ve been reading recently:
Amazon Description: Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever,
eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and
living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries.
But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are
changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly
live and how easy it is to kill.
Commentary: This was the first book our book club discussed and it got sort of mixed reviews. First, it’s pretty long and dense, always a bit of a damning quality when it comes to a Book Club selection. Second, there was a heavy dose of drugs, alcohol and sex for some people’s tastes. The book follows a band of students who are hyperintelligent Greek scholars and the book itself adheres to the structure of a Greek tragedy. In other words, you know the basic resolution from the first page, then spend the majority of the book figuring out how everyone got there. I fell into the camp of really enjoying it. The writing is beautiful. In fact, Bret Easton Ellis (author of American Psycho) is also a huge fan of Donna Tartt and the two both include references to the other’s works. His book, Rules of Attraction, references “a group of classics majors who “dress like undertakers” and are suspected of staging pagan rituals and slaying farmers in the countryside.” In any event, the book fostered a lot of discussion and I feel like it’s salacious enough that people wanted to know what happened to all the characters despite its categorization as a ”modern classic.”
Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.
Commentary: If you haven’t read David Levithan, um, first of all, what’s wrong with you? He’s written excellent books like Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Lover’s Dictionary and half of Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Second of all, just kidding, I was actually pretty late to the Levithan party myself, but seriously, he’s really good. He has the John Green-sian ability to put into words the very private, but offbeat, but universal internal thoughts we all have–especially as teenagers. But really what I love about this book is that it is a perfect example of how art can help shape perception of societal issues. Levithan offers a fascinating lens through which to see human sexuality and provides the proper empathy to view it. It works because not only is the set up fascinating, but it’s a damn good story, too, of starcrossed lovers.
Amazon Description: For outré performance artists, Caleb and Camille Fang, everything in life is
secondary to art, including their children. Annie and Buster (popularly known as
Child A. and Child B.) are the unwilling stars of their parents’ chaotically
subversive work. Art is truly a family affair for the Fangs. Years later, their
lives in disarray, Annie and Buster reluctantly return home in search of
sanctuary—only to be caught up in one last performance.
Commentary: This was another book club selection, much shorter than The Secret History and therefore more people got through it. Most of the group liked it but didn’t love it. It’s an odd book and a bit flippant, sort of like watching a satirical show akin to Suburbia? The narrative switches between past and present as the author describes the performance art pieces for which Caleb and Camille Fang are famous. I thought this book was light, fun and fresh. Most people in our book club didn’t love the characters, which is ok, because you’re not really meant to, aside from Buster, who everyone did enjoy. The end of this book is the big payoff and worth sticking around for. If anyone can shed light on the significance of fingers, injuries, and fires in the book, I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts. We couldn’t come up with a satisfying answer at book club.
Ian, who knew exactly when she needed red licorice.
Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom.
Then there’s a ditch.
But when Justina is ditched, figuratively and liteally, she must piece together–stain-by-stain–on her thrift store dress–exactly how she ended up dateless…with only the help of some opinionated ladies at the 7-Eleven.
a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a
“family,” clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation. Laborers
in California’s dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a
hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of
land and a shack they can call their own.
story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel
scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters
something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster
father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during
bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is
marched to Dachau.The country is holding its breath. Death has never
been busier, and will become busier still.