If you’re looking for high-octane, book log excitement, you’ve come to the right place (that was sarcasm, right there). This month I read five books, which is pretty decent for me given the end-of-the-school-year hijinks I had to deal with. On Friday, Cate mentioned that she had an off month because she “only” read seven books. Cate is a show-off. On to my book log (with an exciting new book queue at the end!).
1. You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers (4/5) – This had been on my shelf for ages and ages and I finally got to it by sticking it on my book queue. I was pretty pleased. Overall, it’s a very entertaining read and Eggers does a great job of illustrating the mind of someone having a breakdown. However, there was a spot somewhere near the middle where it just became unbelievably dull for about 30 or 40 pages. I almost put it down (Cate had the same reaction when she tried to read this several years ago, only she did put it down). Aside from those pages, it was great.
3. The Privileges by Jonathan Dee (4/5) – I had this book checked out of the library fro ever and never got to it, but then Cate read it and liked it and suggested it back to me. Every single one of the characters was loathsome, but the story was still compelling. This really is a good illustration of what privilege is like. This book lacked just a little something for me, though I have a hard time defining what that was.
4. The City in Which I Love You by Li-Young Lee (4.5/5) – I love Lee’s poetry. He writes fabulously beautiful language and always chooses some of the most vivid metaphors. However, there are some moments in this collection that are a bit groan worthy and keep it from being perfect. I believe Cate mentioned a sword standing between someone’s hips. Yeah. Still a very nice read, though.
5. Run by Ann Patchett (4/5) – I love Ann Patchett and I’m slowly working my way through her catalog. Her last book, State of Wonder, left me a little cold as I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as everyone else seemed to. This book restored my faith, though. I’m always mesmerized by people who can write an entire novel that takes place over some absurdly short period of time (this story takes place almost entirely over the course of a single day). However, much as I loved nearly every aspect of the first 270 pages of this books (the politics, the discussion of family and the pressures family can lay on you), the ending felt like a cop out. It’s like she just decided she needed to be finished so she wrote a “four years later” chapter and that was that. It didn’t work for me at all. If she’d pulled it off better at the end, this would have easily gotten a five.
The new book queue: This is going to be an interesting summer for me. My teaching load is changing (more on that in another post) and I’m going to have to spend sometime looking at things I haven’t looked at in a long time. Still, I’m going to stick to my original plan.
In the fall and winter/spring, I give myself a list of ten books to read, but last summer, I decided to try and tackle on giant book per month that I hadn’t read, but had been meaning to forever. I read Gone with the Wind, An American Tragedy, and The Children’s Book. I enjoyed it, and I think I’m going to start doing that every summer. I’m going to stick with the two classics and one contemporary format as well. So, without further ado, here is my new book queue.
Summer Book Queue:
- 2666 by Roberto Bolaño
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy