Monday, September 06, 2021

Leafing August; Paging September

What I read: 

Who Is Dolly Parton? - True Kelley. This book is a treasure. Very well done. True Kelley covered a lot of ground in the meager 108 pages allowed her in this series. Not a lot of distracting sidebars for filler. I know it sounds mean, but I quite enjoyed the shade thrown in Porter Wagoner's direction. And...road trip, anyone? Dollywood???

Why Not Me? Mindy Kaling. I audiobooked this one, read by Mindy herself. I love how she's outrageous and unapologetic. My favorite line in the book is when she's talking about doing a rewrite for the pilot of The Mindy Project and she says she feels like Kal Drogo while working on a strict deadline. I feel like binge-watching alllll the episodes of The Mindy Project.

The Andy Warhol Diaries - Andy Warhol, Pat Hackett, editor. Whee! What a ride. Nearly 900 pages. Have I mentioned that SO MANY PEOPLE are mentioned in the diary? I'm boring friends and family now, I fear. When they mention a celebrity, I say something like, Oh, here's what Andy Warhol said about X. Even better than his name-dropping was the times he got meta and wished to be acquainted with other diary keepers so that they could appear in each others' diaries. So anyway, I am finished with his diary, but I'm not through with Andy Warhol. (See below.)

What I'm reading:

The Lacuna - Barbara Kingsolver. I'm audiobooking this novel, read by the author. I am surprised to find out that Kingsolver is a very talented narrator. Now this feels like what historical fiction should feel like. Harrison Shepherd, a young man (fictional character) with a Mexican mother and an American father winds up working in the home of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo as a cook right about the time Leon Trotsky, in exile and running from Stalin for years, comes to live with them. It's intelligent and expansive. The descriptions of Mexico are intoxicating, and appeal to all the senses. The historical characters all seem very much alive, and Frida in particular jumps off the page, or in this case, out of my car stereo.

What I DNF'ed 

What She Ate - Laura Shapiro. Nonfiction. Shapiro looks at six women: Dorothy Wordsworth, Rosa Lewis, Eleanor Roosevelt, Eva Braun, Barbara Pym, and Helen Gurley Brown and examines each of their relationships to food. I'm not always convinced in these essays that food is the key to them, as Shapiro would like the reader to believe. Even if she could have successfully persuaded me, I was more often than not asleep while she meandered through the essays. I'm so disappointed. I love biography and I love reading about food and the part it plays in people's lives, but this book just didn't engage me.

What a tasty stack I found at the bookstore:

Who Was Frida Kahlo? - Sarah Fabiny. The Lacuna sent me in search of Frida's appearance in the Who Was...? series. Very much looking forward to reading it.

American Cheese - Joe Berkowitz. This nonfiction look at my favorite dairy product was on my wishlist. Guy walks into an upscale cheese store during a cheese sampling, experiences something like cheese nirvana and goes off on a cheese odyssey. I can't wait to start reading and get into the Gruyere as well. 

Fresh Off the Boat - Eddie Huang. Also from the wishlist. I was beguiled by the recent sitcom of the same name and would like to see how close it stayed to Eddie Huang's memoir. 

What I want to read:

Warhol - Blake Gopnik. A biography of Andy Warhol published in 2020. The last time I did a deep dive like this was with Susan Sontag. (Surprisingly, Sontag didn't appear anywhere in Andy Warhol's diary. New York City did, multiple cab rides did, Annie Leibowitz did, but no Sontag. Hmm. It just feels as if they should have crossed paths. Or am I coming at this with too much of a Midwestern point-of-view?)


Jeane said...

I am very much wanting to read the Lacuna. It's been on my shelf for years, and I don't know why I haven't got around to it yet, Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors!

Bybee said...

Yes do read it so we can discuss, Jeane!

Jeane said...

Just finished- finally! Had to take a break in the middle for some lighter reads. Wow, what a book. I can't stop thinking about it. Especially the final pages. I was feeling frustrated and sad and angry (at all the McCarthyism crap) and then the ending was just so lovely that patch of blue pulling him through to hope. Stunning.