January 2010 Book Thoughts

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

This is one of my books from the list.  I had started it just before my job released for Christmas Break so I would have enough free time to dedicate to the massive 1000 page text.  Toward the end of it, the preaching became redundant.  Lucky for me, I’m a sucker for a good love story.  Had to see what happened in the end.  Overall, it is one book that I’m glad I read but I will probably never touch again.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

And old favorite.  I kind of feel like I’m cheating by adding it on here as a novel since its is more a “novella.”  The story always strikes me.  George’s unending loyalty and love toward Lenny is an amazing example of something that isn’t commonly found in today’s world.  I can’t help but get excited about the story every time I read it.  Amazing literature like this is one of the reasons I miss the classroom so much.

The Elephant Vanishes:  Stories by Haruki Murkami

The closest I’ve come to anything in comparative literature was a class in British Literature I took during my semester at Fayetteville State University after I received my BA.  Many of Murkami’s short stories went zooming over my head leaving me to sit there thinking “what just happened?”  However, the book redeemed itself with the short story named “Barn Burning.”  I had my bright light bulb that I get when I read something I would love to teach.  Did he kill her or did she just disappear?  What do you think he means by burning barns?

The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson

About 80 pages into this book, someone told me that what I was reading wasn’t some crazy story that Ronson pulled out of the dark, somewhat twisted recesses of his brain.  These people were real, these situations were real… this book was TRUE.  If I were a cartoon, my head would now be a mushroom cloud.  It make that old joke about “Military Intelligence” even better.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I actually have to thank Joyce for getting me to read this novella again.  For years I’ve been saying that I haven’t read it and almost with the same breath I comment that I’ve read the novel with the “Eyes of God” billboard.  No one has ever corrected me in saying that those novels are one in the same.  It is amazing how Fitzgerald can write two stories that are similar.  A husband and wife both having affairs, but somehow the husband’s seems dirtier… more wrong… than the wife’s affair.  It is because he’s pretending to have feelings for his mistress he clearly still has for his wife?  Or is it because in some strange way, we expect it from Daisy?

The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore

This book actually makes me look forward to Christmas next year so I can sit and read it again.  I read it WELL past the Christmas season had ended.  Even well past the “its okay to listen to your NOW! Christmas album just one more time” period had ended.  And I did it publicly, laughing, smiling, and enjoying the hilarity that was a Christmas Terror.  I overheard one guy ask another, “Dude, what is she reading?”  So maybe… just maybe… I have created another Moore Monster out there in the world.  But more about the book!  I was afraid to read another Moore novel after Love Sucks.  What if Moore actually sucks and I just picked his best novel?  What if he’s like Dave Sedaris and kind of dwindles in funny the more books he puts out?  All I can tell you is, I’ve written down the books where some of the characters from Stupidest Angel appear and I will be visiting my library quite frequently to get my fill.

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby

Mr. Hornby was another one of those “I loved this book… liked this book…. this book was okay…. oh crap he sucks now” kind of authors for me.  I was hooked instantly with High Fidelity.  I recommend it highly to all of the broken-hearted audiophiles in my life.  My love affair with his writing crashed with How to be Good and burned with Songbook.  Maybe I’m just growing out of British humor.  Juliet, Naked was a refreshing look back onto his “okay” days.  It wasn’t anything amazing.  It was predictable.  It poked fun at the blogging fan base of musical geniuses who have decided to become recluses.  The ending was frustrating.

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Okay, if you haven’t read this book and plan on it… stop reading this review and skip to The Good Earth.

You know what?  Someone out there could have told me not to read this book alone, in the middle of the night, with my dog.  Someone could have said “wow, that book is sad.”  Give me a little warning.  You know why I picked it up?  I was watching Say Anything’s video for “Glory of Love” and remembered that part of it was from the movie.  So I grabbed it.  Someone could have given me a little nudge and said, “that was my first book dealing with death” or “isn’t it sad that she drowns?”  NO.  NO ONE WARNED ME.  I WAS THE LOSER CRYING ALONE IN MY BED AT MIDNIGHT ON A FRIDAY READING THIS STUPID BOOK.

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

Have you ever heard a British person doing an impersonation of an American with a British accent?  She’s an American who spend a lot of time in China, speaking like a Chinese guy thinking in English.  It was really a disjointed sound for me to truly enjoy.  But, it explores all of those wonderful things like the circle of life and the tradition of family… even the fluidity of wealth.  I’m not even sure what I was expecting.  All of the reviews I’ve seen have four and five stars, claiming that it is life changing and amazing.  Compared to the other reviews of classics, this should be one spellbinding books.  Or, perhaps, because Oprah liked it… everyone should.  It has been Oprahized.  Good book, worth reading… but definitely not worthy of the hype it has been given.

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6 responses to “January 2010 Book Thoughts

  1. Novella? Since when is The Great Gatsby a novella?

    And if you would ever call when you say you’re gonna (I understand you have a “thing” that prevents this from happening), I could’ve warned you about most of what you wanted warning about.

  2. I didnt know the good Earth was Oprahized. I read it in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and once or twice in the 20’s. I always finish by exclaiming thats the best book i’ve ever read.
    And most people will agree. Because its true.
    Maybe you wern’t open to it when you read it. Please try again, try to put yourself there at that time and place. Focus. Concentrate. C’mon you can do it.

  3. Wiki says, a novella is 20,000 to 40,000. Gatsby is 50,061 words.

    But, who cares about what everyone else thinks, I think if you can read it in 1-2 sessions it is a novella.

    Gatsby is a novella.

  4. I LOVED Bridge to Terabitha! I still cry with it every time, and pick the book up knowing I’m going to cry.

    Just finished Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight. An excellent memoir. Working on The Road now, thanks to a nudge from you and a few others!

    Miss you!

  5. I remember that we had to read Bridge to Terabithia in 4TH GRADE. I finished it quickly and I know that the night I finished I was up reading with a nightlight and crying my darn eyes out. First book to ever make me cry.

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