Wednesday, August 29, 2012

27. Columbine

By Dave Cullen (408 pp)

This book is really tough to read and just as tough to put down. It's a journalistic account of what happened at Columbine H.S. in 1999. The author did incredible amounts of research and was committed to telling the whole story. There were so many things that the initial news accounts got wrong. He also talks about the events that came after. You've got to be ready for it but it's worth reading.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

26. The Book Shop

By Penelope Fitzgerald (123 pp)

This is going to be a giant spoiler but I don't recommend that you read this. In fact, I threw the book away when I got home so no one else would have to read it. I've heard of Fitzgerald for some time and wanted to read one of her books. This is the story of a widow who opens a book shop in 1959 in a rundown town. Some of the locals are charming and supportive. Others are petty and awful. The setting and characterization are wonderful. The story is also wonderful until the end when terrible things happened to all the good people. The petty people won. And the widow ends up with nothing and taking the train out of town. Only recommended if you enjoy your soul crushed by story's end.

Friday, August 17, 2012

25. Girl of Nightmares

By Kendare Blake (332 pp)

This is the sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood. Annie read the first one when she was here so I ran out and bought this so I could give it to her when I saw her in Orleans. Another fun to read, scary YA. Recommend if you've read the first one.

Friday, August 10, 2012

24. Housekeeping v. The Dirt

By Nick Hornby (153 pp)

This is another collection of columns from The Believer. I read the first collection, The Polysyllabic Spree in 2005. Each month Hornby makes a list of the books he's purchased and then the books he's read and writes about it. I'm a huge Hornby fan and loved this book although there are a few columns where he sounds like a man filling up space, like he'd woken up that morning and thought: Shit, my column is due today and I have an Arsenal match to watch. There's also the unfortunate column where he's mortified to find himself buying and unable to get through a sci-fi book.  But most of the time he manages to make books I've never heard of sound too interesting to miss and several times I found myself jotting down a title so I could look for it. Later I discarded those because I already have so many books to read.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

23. War Dances

By Sherman Alexie (209 pp.)

Almost three years ago, Bob and I saw Sherman read at Wordstock. It was one of those deals where you had to pay for the reading, but you got a signed book. So Bob and I each have our own copy. This is another pretty slight book for $23—I read it on the bus in 3 days — but it's Sherman. I'm pretty sure I read the title story in the New Yorker and it is brilliant. The book is a collection of stories, memoir and poems and is terrific.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

22. Among Others

By Jo Walton (302 pp.)

Tina Connolly recommended this to me awhile back and it's been on my list since then. I was a little out of it yesterday and spent all afternoon mowing through this book. It's set in 1979-80 and is about a girl with a wretched childhood who goes to boarding school in England and reads tons of sci-fi books. Yes, seriously. But it's good. The protagonist is wonderful. There is a speculative element but that's not the point of the story. It's not going to be for everyone but I loved it.