23 December, 2010

Books I Have Read in 2010, part one

I have gotten really, really far behind in this whole "keeping track of all the books I read" thing. But since I'm homebound and sick and got nothing else/better to do, here you go. These are the first ten.

Stop Forgetting to Remember: The Autobiography of Walter Kurtz
Stop Forgetting to Remember: the Autobiography of Walter Kurtz by Peter Kuper

Another autobiographical graphic novel I found whilst browsing aimlessly at the library. Kuper mixed it up a bit by making it an autobiography not of himself, but of a fictional person who happens to have had a very, very similar life to his. Wink. The whole book is like a very long version of one of those "this happened to a friend of mine" stories that you hear at parties. Sometimes even in Sacrament Meeting!

I am like 95% sure one of the stories I heard in my most recent Sacrament Meeting was one of those. Anyway.

An autobiographical graphic novel kick is for sure a good kick to be on, and this is a good one, even though it technically breaks the most crucial convention. It's still powerfully honest, and breaks the fourth wall in really cool ways. It's not often that one finds a magical-realism-infused book about parenting and male friendship that still manages to be so touching. I feel like now that I have read this book, I totally understand men. NOT.

Going Rogue: An American Life by Sarah Palin

I decided recently that it's really important for me to read the books of the people with whom I disagree most vehemently, because I want to make sure that I sincerely disagree with their ideas and not just a straw man version of them. Which is often what people I dislike do, argue against ideas they claim their opponents have instead of their actual ideas. But I digress.

I disagree pretty heartily with most of what Sarah Palin says, does, is, represents. After reading her (albeit heavily ghostwritten) memoirs, I can now say with a certainty that I wasn't just imagining things. I really do disagree with her, even dislike her as a person, which is too bad. Someone who reviewed this book on Slate described this book as a "1000 page paean to willful ignorance." That pretty much sums it up.

The thing that really, really bothers me about Sarah Palin, more than her trumped-up claims about her governmental experience, more than her sick parading of her kids for the press, and more than her irritating lack of diplomacy, was that multiple times in her book she claimed that as a child she was a "bookworm" and "a nerd" who spent all her time reading.

First of all, no way could any well-read person have the stunted vocabulary and incomprehensible syntax that Palin seems almost proud of. Secondly, Palin claims that her favorite books are Animal Farm and The Pearl. AKA two of the shortest books on any middle school teacher's required reading list. She makes no mention of any book longer than the two aforementioned. Please. Bookworms read books. You can't spend decades reading and only have those two (very good, let me be clear) books on your hit list.

If Sarah Palin is a nerd, then I'm prom queen. I really feel very strongly about this. You can't grow up as a superstar teen and then try to play your past as a brainy outcast so you seem relatable. Can't have it both ways, sister.

I better stop because I keep getting angrier and angrier at Sarah Palin.

My Rotten Life: Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie by David Lubar

Carlos and I listened to this on CD while we were driving to and from Spokane the week before my birthday. It was a fun, fast-paced book, meant for about Carlos' age group. It took a few cues from Harry Potter (likable everyman hero, goofy-but-loyal best friend, genius female sidekick) but was still reasonably original. Also played around with the ideas of zombiehood in some interesting ways.

The Great Gilly Hopkins
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katharine Paterson

Another one from the Banned Books List. Another strong piece from Ms. Paterson. It's about a little girl who has been in foster care for most of her life and is (understandably) angry at the world and slow to trust anyone. Of course, she gets taken in by a diverse cast of characters and comes to love them. That part was predictable. The ending was not. Really good book.

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson

It's kind of embarrassing to admit that I read this, especially since it wasn't for any project or goal. I read it because Natasha Parker of The Mormon Therapist recommended Hold Me Tight as a good book about relationships and she is my favorite Mormon blogger and speaks a lot of truth. Anyway, this book had some very interesting ideas about attachment theory as it related to adult relationships rather than just parent-child relationships. I think she is pretty spot-on. This would be a good book to get on your Kindle so nobody in public would know you were reading it.

A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck

I thought this book was a true story until I finished it. As it turns out, it sounds like it was kinda one of those "Walter Kurtz" type deals where the author writes a book about a main character with his name and his exact life even though it is supposedly fictional. There is a really graphic description of a pig being slaughtered which made me really sad, but is apparently super accurate, so I can maybe understand why this book was banned. But I think the story is really important, and taught me a lot about Shaker life, a religion I knew very little about beforehand.

Gooney Bird and the Room Mother by Lois Lowry

Another of Lowry's books for younger children. Super cute. Would be great to read to a K-2 class. Reveal at the end caught me totally off guard. I like it when books do that.

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry

This book reminded me of Lemony Snicket's sense of humor. By which I mean it was awesome. It is also a about smart orphans and dumb adults. I would totally read this to a 4-6 class.

Cancer Vixen: A True Story

Cancer Vixen by Marisa Acocella Marcello

Yup, another autobiographical graphic novel. By a woman! Exciting!

I think I am going to send a copy of this to my mom because it's about beating cancer and that's what she did.

Sometimes I have a hard time relating to stories, most of which are by women, where the main plotline is like "I was super rich and sexy and glamorous and then this super-hard thing happened to me and now I know what's really important and I brought a turkey dinner to Bob Cratchit's house!" Mostly because I am neither rich nor sexy nor glamorous. But whatevs. This is still a really good book. It makes me wish I knew more Italians (shout out to ma Pearce girls).

Strangers in Paradise, book 1 by Terry Moore

Do you like lesbian-homoerotic-crime-thriller-graphic novels????

Me too. Here is a book that may interest you.

Not really much else to say about this ... I had no idea what it was about when I started (aimless library browsing once again) and by the time I realized that the love triangle was two chicks and a dude, I was like, but what's gonna happen when the mafia finds out? And I had to finish it.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Also, this book is one of very few books where one of the main characters is an overweight woman and the essence of her characters is not TO BE AN OVERWEIGHT WOMAN. She has a role outside of that. Know what I mean?

1 comment:

katiekono said...

I want to read the Cancer Vixen book! Let's order it from Amazon when you're here! Hope you are healthy soon!