An early Friday Faves + some history

It’s been a while, and I’ve missed giving my opinion to the masses maybe three people who read my posts? Two? It could be more, but I’m convinced my WordPress analytic is broken and giving me very low reads, depriving me of knowing my true fan count.

Ha.

This week I did a every bad thing. This bad thing was going to the library, which triggered the gaping hole in my psyche that convinces me to read at the expense of absolutely everything else in my life. I’m not lying when I say that I may be addicted to reading, and I won’t lie and say that I don’t have a problem with consuming books. I’ve been a voracious reader ever since I had the ability to put letters together to make words and as far back as I can remember, it’s been a torturous existence.

Reading takes over my free time and my non-free time. Throughout middle school and high school I developed weird reading habits at home, like reading in the closet or extended bathroom trips where my activity was to read. If I heard my mom or dad coming up the stairs or any movement headed toward my direction, I would make sure to hide whatever book I was reading and pretend to do homework. I was actually a super-dweeb.

Once my mom got so mad on seeing I was reading that she actually ripped whatever book that was (just kidding, I totally remember what it was. That event has been seared into my brain tissue) in half.

In half.

She was that mad.

She would actually complain to my teachers that I would read too much, although their reactions weren’t quite what she hoped.

FullSizeRender
Oops!

But throughout college, where I had less free time – actually more, but not enough time to devote to mindless, debilitating reading – somehow it didn’t even crack the top five things to do. Which is literally unimaginable for me, considering I went to the library the other day on a whim and took out three books, because why not? It could be the post-grad blues plus the abundance of time in my evenings, or it could be that I can’t help myself. In the past week I’ve gone back to the library multiple times and taken out some more books.
I. Can’t. Stop. Even now, just thinking about it, I want to head back and look through the stacks.

Long story short: I visited the library this week and checked out these three gems.

california
source: edanlepucki.com

California by Edan Lepucki

This dystopian, futuristic (not in the traditional robot way), post-apocalyptic novel was gripping. I literally couldn’t put it down and carried it with me all day until I finished it. I read snippets of it wherever I could, from the hospital waiting room, to the
train station, to late at night when I read the last, goosebumps inducing sentence. The buildup was perfect, but I could have more of the end, since it felt a bit rushed. I give it 3.5 shivers out of 5.

Flirting with French: How a Language Charmed Me, Seduced Me, and Nearly Broke my Heart by William Alexander

flirting with french
source: amazon books, unfortunately

I love anything French, so the punchy cover page immediately drew me in, but the book consistently held my interest. Alexander writes so honestly about the struggles of learning a language past the “accepted” age that I desperately needed to know if he was successful in his endeavor. He cites real research throughout the chapters which mixed up the narrative in a great way. Like a good salmon, not too dry and not too juicy, this was a great memoir on learning a language and keeping your mind young. Four ouais out of cinq.

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae

ABG
source: amazon.com, unfortunately

Stop the presses. I was laughing out loud (literally lol-ing) at  every chapter. Rae writes so well about her life, family, memories from her childhood that continue to haunt her, that I felt every wince, grimace, and post-traumatic embarrassment with her. She struck so many chords with me that I couldn’t help stop the embarrassing moments  from cropping up into my mind. Thanks a lot Jo-Issa! No, seriously, thanks for writing such a great collection of memories from your life so far. Four facepalms out of five.

The takeaway: go to the library! You enrich your life and you keep a venerable institution going for as long as we, as a functioning society, can!

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Books to Look Out For

Take advantage of the colder season by reading anything and everything you can -time permitting, of course.

I went to the bookstore the other day and made a list of books I would like to tackle at some point during this year. It was an easy way to keep track of the books I found the most interesting, and I will definitely look out for them in the library or wait for a gift card to go buy one :)

I know that some of the following are not necessarily new books and are reprinted in newer editions, but since they are new to me hopefully they are new to some of you too! Let me know what you guys think of these if you’ve read any of them!

The Wind Up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

This book looks so cool. I am such a fan of futuristic dystopian novels and after standing at the display reading page after page until my feet started to lose feeling, I think that I would most likely enjoy “The Wind Up Girl”. Set in a future where calories are extremely valuable, and taste, and just the quality of food and general health is a major issue.. I’m a bit hazy of the details because there was a lot of information to take in, and I think there is a prequel to this novel that would probably help me understand what I’m missing. But it was still amazing, and the beautiful language Bacigalupi used in the first few pages was evocative and descriptive to a tee. Can’t wait to really read this!

I Am a Cat by Soseki Natsume

I love cats and I want to read this book. The cover art was beautiful, and flipping it over to see what it was about left me wanting more, and unfortunately I did not have the time to read even a little snippet. A collection of stand alone stories from the perspective of a housecat in the early 20th century who describes the lives of middle class Japanese people. So cool.

Tenth of December by George Saunders

A collection of short stories by George Saunders that will knock your socks off. I just finished it the other day and inhaled the book in under a few hours. I couldn’t put it down, and I hope you won’t be able to either. The writing is stunning. It is poetic yet blunt, and depicts all sorts of life situations in a somehow different world.

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

Based on the true account of a family’s sudden and unfortunate change of fate after Katrina struck,  it was difficult to wrap my head around this novel. I just couldn’t imagine that this actually happened -yet it did. Wonderfully written, the story moves along with each page, never slowing down for a moment.

These are just a few prospective! I’m always on the lookout for new (and not so new) books to read, so if you have any suggestions let me know!

Thanks,

A

Reading In the Summertime

I love reading in the summer. I also just love reading. Anytime, anywhere.

But reading in the summer seems drastically different than reading during, say, winter, where I find the most contrast (temperature differences aside) between the two. This probably isn’t a new insight for many people, but sometimes I find myself talking to those who just don’t seem to understand why reading War and Peace just isn’t right during the summer. Trust me, I tried. I even took it to the beach, where reading is a main activity of mine. Nothing. Nada. I couldn’t do it. I just kept getting this feeling that the book would have been great by a nice, cozy fire sometime in mid to late January.

I have an inability to read certain types of books during the summer. Heavy novels begin to be unbearably difficult to digest, and the call of books like The Hunger Games beckon from afar. My mom recently pulled out Dante’s Inferno from the bookshelves we’re packing away, and I started to retch on sight of it. What if I started to read that? I’d probably throw up immediately.
My Brain
This isn’t to say that I’ll start reading Shirtless on the Riviera* (cover with Fabio-esque man) once the temperatures rise. It’s not. I refuse to lower myself to that level. I can’t even read 50 Shades of Grey without wanting to throw acid in my eyes. (Before you think I’m afraid of the sex, I’m not. I’ve read fanfiction. That shit is scary.)
My solution is turning to less “Serious Literature but still Literature” books. Young Adult novels, for example, are so prime. They are interesting reads while still being somewhat serious. Sometimes. Maybe not like, Confessions of Georgia Nicholson. (Still fun to read).
Then there are humorous novels. David Sedaris, Bill Bryson, that book by Tina Fey. Perfect summer reading. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid is literally the perfect book for any situation for reading in the summer. (Bonus: you learn cool retro-ish facts!) Or The Nanny Diaries. Lighter novels that  have a little something that make you think after reading them is what I think a Summer Book is.
Literally anything by Dickens is a Winter Book.
See the difference? I do!
What do you think? Is there a difference in what kind of literature you read throughout the year?
*Not actually I real novel. I think. It might be.