Saturday, September 03, 2011

August 2011 Reading Recap

Thirteen books for August.  Five were picture books, but hey -- it was summer.

1. The Boxcar Children - Gertrude Chandler Warner.  My disappointed and lukewarm response to the Aldens can be found here.

2. Moral Disorder - Margaret Atwood.  I had this one saved up for a couple of years, and I'm so glad I took it with me to the States (its size was a factor)  and finally read it.

3. Sh*t My Dad Says - Justin Halpern.  Halpern's dad reminded me a lot of Florence King's mother (to compare, see King's memoir Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady -- both had a facility with bad language with a generous helping of creativity.  Halpern's book is a little uneven, and his attempt to show his dad's softer side at the ending comes across as a bit contrived. But he got me back again when he mentioned that his dad honestly didn't consider his years of online writing to be real publishing.  That sounds familiar.

4. American Bee - James Maguire.  Buzz, buzz.  Heart. I spilled my word-nerdy love here.

5. Maria's Wedding - Nunzio De Filippis, Christina Weir and Jose Garibaldi.  The graphic novel I paid 2 cents for!  The storyline strained then fell flat from having to introduce and support so many characters in such a short tale, but Garibaldi's illustrations won me over.

6. Nashville Chrome - Rick Bass.  Fictionalized biography of The Browns, a family singing group (two sisters and a brother -- Maxine, Jim Ed and Bonnie) who achieved crossover success in the 1950s.  The book is mostly about Maxine Brown, her hunger for fame and her inability to accept it when their popularity had passed. Some of the passages in the book seemed a little repetitive, but while some readers were irritated at author Bass for this, I interpreted it as a representation of the way Maxine's thoughts kept rolling over the same tired old road in her mind. Favorite parts included their early life in a rural Arkansas logging camp, Jim Ed's forays into nature, where the writing takes on an almost meditative quality, the lovely portrayal of musician/performer Chet Atkins, who listens so intelligently and intently that he can hear the spaces between the notes and Jefferson Eads, the odd, intense boy who appears on Maxine's doorstep as the answer to her prayers for newfound celebrity.

7. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain.  My only regret is that I didn't read this during July when I went to Hannibal, Missouri.

8. I Have To Go! - Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko.  My evening of Robert Munsch is here
9. Thomas' Snowsuit - Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko.

10. Show and Tell - Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko.

11. Andrew's Loose Tooth - Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko.

12. Get Out of Bed! - Robert Munsch and Alan & Lea Daniel.

13. Becoming Jane Eyre - Sheila Kohler.  I wasn't expecting to like this novel about the Brontes and how Charlotte came to create her most famous work, (headless cover, that derivative title) but I was captivated by Kohler's writing and I felt so nicely steeped in All Things Bronte.  It made me feel sincere about getting back to Villette and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

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