Saturday, September 01, 2018

Nine Books, Eighth Month

Nine books! Not too bad.

I tried for that tenth book, but

couldn't...quite...reach.

Here's what I did read in August:

1. Dad is Fat - Jim Gaffigan. I warmed up to this memoir slowly. Not too fond of the chapters before Gaffigan and his wife were parents, but when the five (!) kids came along, it was comedy gold. I also have his book, Food: A Love Story. Audiobook, read by Gaffigan.

2. Priestdaddy - Patricia Lockwood. In this memoir, Lockwood and her husband move from Savannah, Georgia back in with her parents in Kansas City. Her father is a Catholic priest who received a special dispensation to become a priest even though he was married and had a family. They are all rather unconventional to say the least. Lockwood's writing is the star of the show. She does wondrous things with language.

3. Heartbreak Hotel - Anne Rivers Siddons. A coming-of-age story about a Southern young woman coming to grips with the changes sweeping the South during the summer of 1955.

4. My Year of Rest and Relaxation - Ottessa Moshfegh. Moshfegh has somehow become my favorite writer. Last year, I read her novel Eileen and was amazed. Enjoyable whiffs of Jim Thompson and Patricia Highsmith. In her latest, the unnamed narrator wants to hibernate for a year. It's weird and darkly funny. Brilliant. Fun fact: The picture on the cover is from a portrait by the French painter David. The US cover has been altered slightly -- the young woman's nipples have been airbrushed out. I think it's because of Amazon, but I'm not sure. It is rather a US thing, isn't it, to be scandalized by women's nipples?

5. Conviction - Juan Martinez. The prosecuting attorney in the Jodi Arias trial tells about bringing her to justice. The writing style seemed flat and forced.

6. 90s Bitch - Allison Yarrow. Yarrow goes back and explores the decade that seemed in retrospect (media, culture) to hate the hell out of women. After Anita Hill, it was all Down Hill. Read and remember. Get pissed, get woke, stay woke.

7. The Road to Little Dribbling - Bill Bryson. This is Bryson's follow-up to Notes From a Small Island, and man, it was a hard go. When did Our Bill become such a cranky old man? If he does a follow-up to At Home, I'm sure his recurring phrase will be "Get off my lawn!" Audiobook.

8. Fast Diets for Dummies - Kellyann Petrucci, Patrick Flynn. OK, I read this book because I'm interested in the concept of intermittent fasting. They go on and on too much about Paleo, though. My body is very WTF? to me when I try to do that.

9. Amy Falls Down - Jincy Willett.  Amy, a fiction writer who is rather obscure, falls down on New Year's Day (also her birthday) while trying to plant her Christmas tree and cracks her head on the birdbath. The same day, she gives an interview that she doesn't remember and it leads to her being rediscovered. Tart, lively prose laced with irony. I laughed out loud several times. I see why David Sedaris is one of her fans!

Common bonds in this month's reading:

Dad is Fat and Priestdaddy: Catholic upbringing. Memoirs. Five children.

Dad is Fat and My Year of Rest and Relaxation: Getting around in New York City.

Heartbreak Hotel and My Year of Rest and Relaxation:  Both protagonists are exceedingly attractive. Shitty boyfriends. Both take to their beds when life starts to suck.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation and Amy Falls Down: Lots of unkind but very witty observations about people they encounter.

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