Books I Read This Month - August 2011 (Plus Peace Stuff)

In my Peace Blogfest post I said that you should sign up before 31 August 2011, which is today. However, I think the deadline is kind of lame. I'm letting people continue to sign up until the blogfest starts. Hopefully more people will join! Please join if you can, and spread the word anyway if you can't! Thanks so much to all the supporters!

I am going to post a list of everyone who signed up, plus the link to their blog, on Monday 12 September 2011. I will add to the list if more people sign up after the 12th. You can follow the participants or just use the list as a reference to read the Peace Blogfest posts when the time comes.

Here are the books I read this month. (Bold means I loved it!)

S. - John Updike
In interesting book written in the form of letters to and from the main character, a 40-something woman who leaves her husband and moves into a ashram. I thought it was good, and I felt smart reading it and knowing all the terms since I do yoga. :)

The End - Salvatore Scibona
Beautifully written! The characters are well drawn out, but the plot of the story was a little confusing to me and sort of slow. Very literary.

Oblivion - David Foster Wallace
A few short stories and novellas by the one and only David Foster Wallace. My favorite was the one entitled "The Soul is Not a Smithy," in which a teacher goes crazy at the front of the classroom.

V for Vendetta - Alan Moore (art by David Lloyd)
I'd already seen the movie a while back, but I had to read the comic because the movie was so good... I started reading it at 11 pm one night and couldn't put it down. I didn't get much sleep that night, but it was totally worth it. If you haven't heard of this, read it. If you've seen the movie but haven't read the comic, read it. If you've read the comic but haven't seen the movie, watch the movie. Yeah.

Already Dead - Denis Johnson
I really enjoyed this book. It's dark humor, with lots of drugs and sex and murder and ghosts and stuff. It may be morbid, but I really love books like that. It's not mindless, of course; the drugs and sex and violence all have a purpose in the story. It's the kind of thing I would like to write, but whenever I try to write that kind of stuff, I get all embarrassed.

Hamlet - Shakespeare
I'm really not sure why I decided to read this at this time. But Shakespeare, why not? I don't have anything to say about it that hasn't already been said before, though, so I won't say anything else. My favorite line? "Get thee to a nunnery!" Made me laugh out loud, even though in context it isn't funny. "Conscious does make cowards of us all" is another amazing line. Also, here is a clip of the brilliant David Tennant as Hamlet because I love him.

All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy
This was the book club book for the month! Here is my post about it.

The Lacuna - Barbara Kingsolver
A Mexican-American communist writer during the Red Scare? I think yes! Plus Diego Rivera and Leon Trotsky as characters. Beautiful language too and a great message about art and freedom.

Legacies - F. Paul Wilson
Next book in the Repairman Jack series. Donated Christmas presents stolen from AIDS orphans? How mean! Jack's got to save the day again. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading this book, and not just because it's a fast-paced thriller. The hero of the series, Jack, had to take on oil company terrorists. Sounds like a prejudice, stereotyping meanie thing on the surface (and Wilson calls one guy 'The Arab' which bothered me quite a bit; people should not be defined by their race) but it's not. There was definitely potential for it to go sour, but thankfully the author did not commit any terrible acts of racism, for which I was relieved.

Great Apes - Will Self
One of the weirdest books I've read in a while. This painter wakes up one morning and everyone are apes and thinks he's crazy for believing he is a human. Very odd and very Will Self-ish (more drugs, sex, and rock and roll; I know, right, with apes?) but funny.