Books to Read in One Sitting This Summer

June 12, 2015 at 9:41 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

This week I read three books, of different genres, each in their own sitting.  And if you’re looking for something to fill a nice, summer day, I recommend you give them a go too.

Unknown1. The House of Paper – Carlos Maria Dominguez

This is a beautiful and mysterious 103 page book about bookishness, and I love it.  Prettily illustrated with so many quotes I was itching to underline, I cannot wait to purchase my own copy.  (I checked it out from the library.)  Bibliophiles will adore the title and author references, as well as the social commentary regarding people who build private libraries our of their book collections.  Goes down best early in the morning with your coffee, or perhaps late at night with your tea.

2. The Colossus – Sylvia Plath

51h4UamM5bL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ After reading The Bell Jar, I was in desperate need of getting to know Plath a little better.  The Colossus and Other Poems is only 83 pages long, but rich is hauntingly gorgeous descriptions.  I read somewhere that someone once described this collection as the coldest summer poetry available – and I tend to agree. If you’re from Texas, this is a good one to sweat out the morning in your garden just before brunch (or second breakfast) while your kiddo frolics with the dog and collects dead flies.

3. High Moon – E.J. Boley

Werewolves, gypsies, cowboys, and vampires – I just devoured this paranormal western while hiding indoors during the hottest part of the day. If Cormac McCarthy decided to pick up a punctuation habit and tell supernatural tales, it might come out a little bit like this. Except Boley manages something I’ve never experienced in a McCarthy novel – FUN. Using familiar phrases and titles as chapter headings was a nice touch.  Being set in Texas is always a nicer one.  Can’t wait to read Boley’s future endeavors.

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A Day with the Glass Family

December 21, 2012 at 4:05 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

zooey_tTitle: Franny and Zooey

Author: J.D. Salinger

As much as I disliked Catcher in the Rye, I loved Franny and Zooey.  Apparently a short story combined with an intertwining novella, it reads like a full length novel just fine, and it’s pretty intriguing, unlike Salinger’s more famous work CitR.

Franny and Zooey are the youngest children of the rather large Glass family, and the baby (Franny) starts the book off as a twenty year old histrionic having a bit of a meltdown while out to eat with her boyfriend.  Her brother, Zooey, spends a large portion of his story in the bath tub talking to his intrusive mother about the meltdown that has migrated to the family’s living room.

Surprised that Zooey is a boy? I was.  Apparently it used to be used as a nick name for Zachary and Zachariah.  I spent all of Franny wondering how this mysterious Zooey was going to fit into the story, which at that point revolved around a girl freaking out about Bohemians and Academia the way people in their mid to late twenties today lament the so-called Hipsters.   There’s not much of a plot, more of a theme of self-discovery, religion, and philosophy, and what that all really means.  But I like that sort of thing, and I loved Zooey and his smart ass attitude.

It was actually pretty cold today, completely out of nowhere, so the kiddo and I spent most the day snuggled up and bundled in sweaters while reading and writing.  Basically, the perfect recipe for reading a quick book like Franny and Zooey between lunches and writing sessions and nap times.  I picked it up around noon and after reading tidbits here and there all day, finally wrapped it up around kiddo’s bed time.  I like having books like that around, especially as I finish up my year round Les Miserables Read-A-Long.  It is the kind of book I hope to publish a few of here and there before I die, not in topic and theme, but in mood.  I like getting to know characters in a specific moment of their life, like Virgina Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway.

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Kafka on Trial

May 13, 2012 at 5:18 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , )

Title: The Trial

Author: Franz Kafka

Publisher: I am reading from a paperback copy from Vintage Books published in 1969

Published in 1937 by Knopf

Length: 341 pages, including post scripts and translator’s notes

I’d like to start by saying I love Kafka, I do, I really do, I think.

I read The Metamorphosis over and over again, wrote a paper on it in high school and two more in college.  I can’t count how many times I’ve read it, I just think its so wonderful.  After reading The Castle and The Trial, however, I’m realizing that Kafka’s greatest skill is in writing the most frustrating scenarios a human being could be plopped into – alienation and bureaucracy.  Whether it becoming a giant bug, living under mysterious and unfair authorities, or dying after a year long quest to discover what crime you have been accused of, Kafka has helplessness down to an art.  I love Kafka!

I love him because his concepts are fascinating.  He is the most wonderful creator of modern day myth that I’ve read.  But I find that while reading his full length novels, I feel a bit as I did when reading Don Quixote – screaming at Cervantes, “I get it! Iget it! I get it already!”  Halfway through Kafka’s The Trial, I groaned wondering when it was all going to stop, knowing that I knew Kafka well enough to know that peace would not be had in the end (at least not the kind brought about by resolution).   I love the exasperation of the short story or novella written to drive these scenarios home.  My heart can’t stand it in a full length novel.  At the end of The Trial, I hate Kafka.

But the story was so good!

Kafka belongs to the world of novellas and short stories.  That is where I love him best.

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