September Book Log

October 1, 2017

Moving has caused reading issues for the second month in a row, but things seem to be smoothing out now. I’m in the middle of two big books and hoping October is a banner reading month.

  1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (4.5/5) – Taught this book for the first time ever. I hadn’t read it since college and it had soured in my mind. Turns out it actually deserves it’s reputation. It’s not perfect, but is very good and incredibly timely right now. Humanity has such a way of repeating the same mistakes over and over again.
  2. Human Acts by Han Kang (3.5/5) – I enjoyed this book, but don’t think it quite rose to the heights of her first novel The Vegetarian. That book presented us with different character perspectives whereas this one had large chunks trying to present a generalist we/you perspective that almost never works for me as a reader.
  3. The Stranger by Albert Camus (5/5) – I thought I was going to teach this, but ended up not teaching it. Anyway, I read it again, obviously, and still love it. I have some unread Camus sitting on my shelf that I need to get to. As is, Mersault is right up there with Humbert Humbert as one of the most interesting insane narrators in literature.

July Book Log

August 1, 2017

In July, I both sold my house and agreed to buy another house. I predicted back at the beginning of the year that this was going to be a complicated and busy year for me. So far, that’s accurate.

So four books this month and we’ll see about August.

  1. The Life of Elves by Muriel Barbery (4/5) -Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog was my favorite book last year, so it’s safe to say I was excited for this one. As was the case with Elegance this one grows on me the more I think about it. I already wonder if 4/5 is too low a rating. Anyway, this book is like… I don’t know exactly. Imagine if David Mitchell was more fantasy and less sci-fi and also French. I’m going to have to read everything of hers now, I can feel it.
  2. Theft by Finding by David Sedaris (3.5/5) – This is a thick tome consisting of excerpts from Sedaris’ diaries over a 25-year period. Sedaris is an excellent writer, but he wasn’t in 1977. It’s interesting for the story it tells and the last 12 years or so contain a lot of really good writing, but it’s uneven overall.
  3. The Vegetarian by Han Kang (5/5) – Rare is the book where you have nothing in common with any of the characters, but end up genuinely empathizing with nearly all of them. I see myself in none of the people in this book, but their struggles are still very real and the emotions they feel hit home. Kang is a fabulous writer and I’ll be seeking out more of her work.
  4. Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin (4/5) – Finally got around to this. it is, in many ways, supposed to be the Ur of Russian literature. And I see why. It predicts much that comes after it, especially Tolstoy. It was A LOT of metered, rhyming poetry for my taste, but I’m still very glad I read it.