Comment: June 2014

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jrd3820's picture

June 2014

At the end of June I was up to 54. I am aiming for 6 in July and that will bring me to 60, then I can coast through the rest of the year and easily make 84 by December.

No One Belongs Here More Than You, By Miranda July
New Read.
Amazon Rating: 4/5
GoodReads Rating:4/5
My Rating: 4/5

“These delightful stories do that essential-but-rare story thing: they surprise. They skip past the quotidian, the merely real, to the essential, and do so with a spirit of tenderness and wonder that is wholly unique. They are (let me coin a phrase) July-esque, which is to say: infused with wonder at the things of the world.” —George Saunders, author of Tenth of December

Award-winning filmmaker and performing artist Miranda July brings her extraordinary talents to the page in a startling, sexy, and tender collection. In these stories, July gives the most seemingly insignificant moments a sly potency. A benign encounter, a misunderstanding, a shy revelation can reconfigure the world. Her characters engage awkwardly—they are sometimes too remote, sometimes too intimate. With great compassion and generosity, July reveals their idiosyncrasies and the odd logic and longing that govern their lives. No One Belongs Here More Than You is a stunning debut, the work of a writer with a spectacularly original and compelling voice.

I love these stories, they are so awkward and human anyone can relate. That being said, there is a small audience for them here as this is probably more for a female crowd.

Lucy, By Jamaica Kincaid
New Read.
Amazon Rating: 3.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.5/5
My Rating 3/5

The coming-of-age story of one of Jamaica Kincaid's most admired creations--newly available in paperback. Lucy, a teenage girl from the West Indies, comes to North America to work as an au pair for Lewis and Mariah and their four children. Lewis and Mariah are a thrice-blessed couple--handsome, rich, and seemingly happy. Yet, almost at once, Lucy begins to notice cracks in their beautiful facade. With mingled anger and compassion, Lucy scrutinizes the assumptions and verities of her employers' world and compares them with the vivid realities of her native place. Lucy has no illusions about her own past, but neither is she prepared to be deceived about where she presently is.

The character Lucy is surprising because she is quite cold and nonchalant about other people. She wants to be left alone and not have anyone expect anything of her. She was a memorable character for her eccentricities, but overall the book is mediocre. It is a really quick read though.

Ready Player One, By Ernest Cline
New Read.
Amazon Rating: 4.5/5
GoodReads Rating 4.5/5
My Rating 4/5

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

This was so much fun! All the cultural references were fun, and it became quite intense trying to figure out who was going to win. It is also good to read alongside the book Feed that I posted in my May post about my book list.

Tibetan Art of Positive Thinking, By Christopher Hansard.
New Read
Amazon Rating: 4/5
GoodReads Rating:4/5
My Rating:4/5

Tibetan Bön medicine is one of the world's oldest and most sophisticated systems of healing -- and the only one endorsed by the Dalai Lama. In The Tibetan Art of Positive Thinking, Christopher Hansard draws upon the practices and principles of Bön, along with his own knowledge of Tibetan teachings, to offer a series of simple, soulful meditations and exercises that can help you achieve spiritual, emotional, interpersonal, and professional success.

I know this isn’t fiction, but it was part of my June reading. It was helpful and thoughtful and I am grateful that someone would send me such a meaningful book. As far as nonfiction goes, this is a really helpful one.

House on Mango Street, By Sandra Cisneros
Re-Read
Amazon Rating: 3.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3..5/5
My Rating: 4/5

Acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught everywhere from inner-city grade schools to universities across the country, and translated all over the world, The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero. Told in a series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous – it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.

This is so sweet. I’m surprised it has a 3.5 from both goodreads and amazon. It was crafted with care. It is also a really quick read as it is not long at all and as the descriptions says, it is told in a series of vignettes. There are a lot of emotions captured in these stories.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Bernerdt
New Read
Amazon Rating: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 4/5
My Rating: 4/5

Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case.

It is fun and quirky and makes me want to drink mint juleps and speak in a slow southern drawl. The descriptions are thick and vivid. The characters are well created and memorable.

Song of Solomon, By Toni Morrison
Re-Read
Amazon Rating: 4.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.5/5
My Rating: 5/5

Milkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly. With this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel García Márquez. As she follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to the place of his family’s origins, Morrison introduces an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars and assassins, the inhabitants of a fully realized black world.

This is one of my favorite books ever. These characters are unforgettable. This is one of my most read books along with The Sun Also Rises. It is also heavy with biblical references and analogies. Some of the best writing has come drawing parallels to biblical stories, much like East of Eden.