Late and Lounging in the Pulp

It's after four a.m. I blame literacy. And a little chocolate Haagen-Dazs.

Some books read this summer, all on the Kindle, all causing the Book Budget Graph to continue its climb towards Maine:

Julie and Julia. (I'm not italicizing out of respect for the staggering hour. Sorry.) I remember when the blog that became this book was going on, back when I read Amateur Gourmet pretty regularly and was used to seeing links to people cooking their way through cookbooks. I liked the J/J site, but since JC was often and understandably meat-oriented, I stopped reading because so much didn't apply. The book, though, I liked, in a breezy, companionable way. I've decided I enjoy memoirs, and isn't that what blogs often are?

The Tulip and the Pope. I'm turn to this one now and again for a few pages, which isn't really a ringing endorsement. It's a quiet book about being a nun and, eventually, if I can stop reading other things, I believe it will be about discontinuing being a nun. We shall see.

Snuff. I didn't think I was the sort of person who would enjoy a Chuck Palahniuk novel, but apparently I am... although I'm still not sure if Hitler invented the first sex doll, or if I'm supposed to highlight that passage and mark it VERISIMILITUDE, while admiring the narrative structure. In fact, I almost wanted to email one of my former professors and say, have you read this book? It shifts between four points of view, moving the story along while mostly taking place in a closed space, inside of an hour. Like Wolff's "Kew Gardens," except it's about an adult film star making her farewell porno as she gang-bangs a record-setting 600 men. But maybe that's not for everybody.

Comfort Me with Apples. I'd read Reichl's last memoir, the one about being the NY Times food critic. This one was less "fun," but still entertaining. Mind you, I wasn't expecting the tale to turn to adultery while early on, but even I remember enough of the 70s to just shrug. (It was all like Judy Blume's Wifey, right?)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. This is surely the standout book of the lot, and it deserves every accolade that's been keeping it in the public eye. An epistolatory novel! (See, I have to use big words to reassure myself that, in just two weeks, I can teach AP classes.) I learned so much about Guernsey during World War II, the book creating the thirst for such info a perfect two-steps-ahead of delivering it. A book that ruins you for other books which, strangely, is just the kind of book readers love, innit?

New Moon. Not really. I tried. I tried and tried and tried. I bought it, even. I tried so hard. I want to love what the rest of you love! But it's just. so. boring. Like, I almost want to see a doctor. "Doc, I love vampire books. Love YA. Love details. Love epics. Love romance. Would love to love these books. Help!"

Good in Bed. Recommended across the internet because it has a plus-size heroine. Energetic chick lit. Nothing to dislike. (Unlike Bella! And Edward! And, argh, Alice!)

The Lovely Bones. Started as an audio book years ago, and finally finished it. Certainly original, and I'd probably recommend it on that alone. I want to whine about this or that, but then I come back to all of the things the book didn't give me, like some mindless but satisfying revenge, and it creates an empty space that - and I hope I'm not being annoying overblown - is like the empty space of Susie's death. You have to work to fill it. (Susie dying isn't a spoiler. You're going to find out in the second sentence.) Anyway, I really liked Susie and wanted much more of her (but, again, the denial of that was maybe calculated?), and I'm so impressed that we could have a point of view from beyond the grave without a lot of drama. But, the sex scene was silly, and I was so into Susie that I could never care about her family as they moved on, and I don't know how I feel about the arty classmate. But I like thinking about what I didn't like, so somehow that equals a thumbs-up. I don't want to read it again, but thumbs-up.

Bet Me. Oops. Remember when I said that "Good in Bed" was "energetic chick lit." I was thinking of "Bet Me." GiB is paced well, but it wasn't as light as Bet Me, and forget what I said about "nothing to dislike." That's Bet Me again, whereas GiB plays it "deep" at times in a way that reaches beyong the capabilities of the book. Oh, and having a celebrity suddenly become your BFF which leads to a sudden movie deal and no more income worries? Deus ex machina, and not in the forgiveable sense. But "Bet Me"? Yeah, that was fine.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I've never read a zombie novel before. I liked this one. Have you ever thought about zombie (or even vampire) babies, helpless in their cradles? It's a compelling image. I'd call this the zombie book for people who are open-minded but think they are above zombie books.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Well, who doesn't like David Sedaris? If you think you don't, are you sure? Have you read (or heard) his Six to Eight Black Men essay? I wish I could read him for the first time all over again.

There's more, but I'm tired, and Mike won't feel loved if I don't shove him to one side of the bed, coating the last of the night with guilt for sprawling in my absence. Judith is sleeping. Mary is sleeping. Heidi is... is she? is she? yes, finally sleeping. Koda is sleeping. Only Evelyn runs, runs, runs in the night.

Evelyn, the one who stole the "secret hamster" title from Koda.

And since Koda is out in society, we will close with this photo:

Koda on the Climb

05 August 2009 |






Carnival Elation (2009)
Carnival Splendor (2009)
Carnival Spirit (2010)
Carnival Spirit (2011)
Carnival Splendor (2011)
Norwegian Pearl to Alaska (2012)