6.01.2012

Reading life review: May


Number of books read in May: 9
Number of books read in 2012: 52
Complete list here.

The Night Bookmobile (Audrey Niffenegger) Graphic novel. Related entry here.

First Love (Ivan Turgenev) Fiction. Related entry here.

Are You My Mother? (Alison Bechdel) Graphic memoir. Related entry here.

When You Were Mine (Rebecca Serle) YA fiction. You know? I really wanted to loathe this retelling of Romeo and Juliet, particularly the "central casting" aspect of Serle's characterizations. But... it was actually rather sweet and old-fashioned.

Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading (Lizzie Skurnik) Non-fiction. A reread for me. Why? Related entry here.

Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting (Pamela Druckerman) Non-fiction. This book takes itself quite seriously when, in fact, it's nothing more than commonsense parenting packaged as an exotic discovery. I realize that the circles in which Druckerman runs may eschew "The Look" (i.e., "Big Eyes") or early and ceaseless coaching in excellent manners as too authoritative and/or too robotic, but some parents (Alas! Too few, too few!) have quietly gone about the business of raising their children sans any reminders about who makes the decisions and why.

Bossypants (Tina Fey) Non-fiction. Listened to this one on the Kindle. Smart, funny, entertaining.

The Fault in Our Stars (John Green) YA fiction. Others have already amply praised this beautiful novel: NPR, Washington Post, TIME, and NYT.

 The Devil All the Time (Donald Ray Pollock) Fiction. Relentlessly grim but perfectly paced and neatly woven, this was the "it" book a couple of seasons ago. What seemed to capture many imaginations, though, was Pollock's personal history: He published his first book, Knockemstiff, in 2008 after working as a laborer in a paper mill for more than thirty years. While that is interesting, I think his work would have been compelling even without the backstory. The jacket copy notes similarities to Natural Born Killers and the stories of Flannery O'Connor, but I was reminded of that underappreciated 2001 film Frailty. Pollock's novel explores some of the same psychological landscape -- the twisted pursuits, the underlying faith, the inevitability of it all.