Books read in December 2011

I finish my ten-title Mock Printz YA reading list and find some time for other things too.

The Order of the Stick: Don’t Split the Party
Rich Burlew
Read aloud.
A very long book that refuses to follow the advice of its own title. We spend a lot of time with one or another of the split party. This long book and suffered a bit at the end from the “let’s wrap this up now” syndrome, but overall it was pretty entertaining, when read aloud.
Dead end in Norvelt
Jack Gantos
Read for Mock Printz
This was book 9 of 10 read for the Mock Printz discussion and was the outlier, falling into neither the “grim” nor the “tense” category. I started out loving it, as Gantos has a way of phrasing normal observations into something rather amusing and there is a scene at the beginning involving melting gold statues, a feisty old lady and a bloody nose that is pure comedy gold. But after that, my adoration cooled, due to the main character’s father being a bit of a jerk, a mystery poorly developed and quickly solved, but not resolved, and a very ambiguous ending that left me perplexed as to just what, exactly, the message was. I wanted to like it, but I just didn’t.
Octavia E. Butler
One of the pluses of volunteering at the library is that I find very interesting books that I wouldn’t have come across otherwise when I’m shelving. This book was shelved in science fiction though, in my opinion, it was really historical fiction in which the main character just happened to time travel to 1815.
As mentioned in my review of Jubilee, I find slavery/slave narratives interesting and out-of-fashion. Indeed, this novel was written in 1979. But experiencing slavery from the perspective of a modern-day black person was a fun narrative device that kept me reading. Recommended.
Good Masters, Sweet Ladies
Laura Amy Schlitz
This has been on my Goodreads list for years, and I finally read it because I noticed it while volunteering at the library shelving books. This is a fun series of poems/monologues of young people in a medieval village. It’s a quick read and the sidebar historical information is interesting too. I also loved the YA novel this author wrote, A Drowned Maiden’s Hair: A Melodrama.
One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest
Ken Kesey
Read for Kenton Book Group
This was a hard read, not because the prose was difficult, but the subject was. I had seen the movie and so I knew where it was going (assuming the movie followed the book) so there wasn’t anything to look forward to and I kept putting off reading my daily pages. Still, it was well written, and I enjoyed the perspective of the Chief, which was not a part of the movie.
It’s So Easy and other Lies
Duff McKeagen
Duff–from Guns & Roses (and Velvet Revolver and Loaded)–describes his life as a musician, an addict, and his life of sobriety. The writing is rough and unpolished, but enthusiastic and interesting, especially the details of the early G&R days. I was particularly interested in his journey to sobriety which I can sum up in three words: become a nerd. How could I not be delighted when someone’s path to recovery includes reading, bike riding, martial arts and going to college?
My main quibble with the book was the question of who wrote it. Duff’s name is on the cover, Duff is featured as the author on the back cover. Only on the last page of the book is Duff’s collaborator listed. I felt like the book was mainly in Duff’s voice and he probably did write most of it, but if you are going to use a collaborator (and there’s nothing wrong with that if you’ve got a story to tell) the just put their darn name on the cover with yours.
Anne of Ingleside
L.M. Montgomery
Anne begins to fade into the background as her children take over more and more of the story.
Good Poems for Hard Times
Garrison Keillor, ed.
Yep. They were.
After the Golden Age
Carrie Vaughn
Okay entry into the non-comic superhero genre, though it was no “Soon I Will be Invincible.”
It Looked Different on the Model
Laurie Notaro
Some funny stories. I recommend especially the one near the end about the dog translator.
William Shakespeare
As I read this, I was amazed at how many turns of phrase that we use in everyday speech originate from this play.
Anya’s Ghost
Vera Brosgol
Read for Mock Printz
I’ve said before I’m not a graphic novel fan, but despite my “not” I loved this little story. Also, it was pointed out to me later that Central Library has a cameo role in the book. So exciting!
Started and did not finish
The Culture of Make Believe
Big thick book that made a lot of very good points in the first 75 pages I read. However, said points are rather depressing and sad and thus I wandered off. Would be worth tackling again in the future.

2 thoughts on “Books read in December 2011”

  1. So…have did your goal to read less book go? There are some titles here that I have on my to read list! As always – I would love to be able to discuss them with you in person. And your response is – you know how to remedy that, move my way! 🙂

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