Wednesday, April 13, 2016

April Reading

Lately, I've been on a reading jag. It started with the trip to Paris. I was able to read (somewhat uninterrupted) for a few hours, and it was nice to get through some of the books on my to-be-read list. I picked a couple of easier books to get through since I was sitting with a 6-year-old ADHD nugget.

This is one of the recent books. I found myself surprised at how similar this character was to me in many ways. In one instance, she reflects the very same attitude I've espoused about meeting my biological father/family. It felt a little eerie. But it was a quick read and enjoyable. Who doesn't love a little romance now and then? But it was more interesting to read about the relationship between the two women (the main character and the ex) and I was pleased that it ended the way that it did. Maybe a little trite, but pleasant anyway.

The next in the string of Liane Moriarty books was the Last Anniversary. I thought this was an interesting story filled with unusual characters. There were several ongoing stories woven throughout the book, and it was nice to see how everything would unwind. There were lots of little twists and turns, and I enjoyed it even though I didn't really like all of the characters.

This book was the last one I read on the plane. It started out funny, and had many tender moments along the way. I love that she included little glimpses at the girls over the years as told by strangers who crossed paths with them along the way. It was a nice little break from the tension of the plot and it gave you a different insight. It also makes you think about the people you run across and how they may impact your life even though you don't interact with them on a deeper level.
While I was on Goodreads the other day, I stumbled across a site called NetGalley, and am quite smitten with the idea of reading pre-released books. One of the books I was able to read was James Franco's Straight James/Gay James. It is a book of poetry and an essay/interview with himself about whether or not he is gay or straight. It is an interesting read. No, his poems are not going to win any poetry prize in the near future, but I think there is a certain sincerity about them that is interesting. They may be contrived and I'm just gullible, but it was a glimpse into one facet of his mind anyway. If you are a fan, you should read it just because. If you are a poetry lover looking for mind-blowing prose, you might skip.
Another NetGalley book was Last Sext, a book of poetry to be released in June this year. I'd read good things about Martha Broder's essays, but I hadn't read them or any of her previous poetry. It has me wondering though. I'm interested to find out of her previous work is much like this new work. As a poet, I'm always trying to encourage readers to branch out and read (or maybe even write) poetry. I see poetry as an inclusive art that is best when it is accessible. Not everyone agrees with this. The poems in this new book do not feel accessible to me. Most of them feel strained... like a tee-shirt that is trying to cover a bulging tummy, but not doing such a good job at it. I feel like these poems are straining to be heard and shared, but with the language and style used, they remain mysterious and just below the surface. For me, they are way too abstract. I like a good story, and these poems left me wanting to create a story of my own to construct and fit around the abstractness of them all. I could feel the themes lingering there. But I didn't end up caring so much what they were trying to communicate. I felt pushed away and uncomfortable. Maybe that is what she was aiming for. I'm not sure. Anyway, there were some interesting images and a lot of repeated words and phrases that left me feeling like I was missing the bigger point.

And before my NetGalley findings, this popped up in my library holds. I was quite pleased because it was a really good book.

I always want to review a book, but then I get that weird feeling of who am I to question a published book and/or tell someone else whether or not they should read it. Especially people I don't know that well and/or know their reading tastes. But I thought I'd share about this one. I hovered between 4 & 5 stars. It was serendipitous that I stumbled across this book because I keep bumping into a lot of things surrounding art and synesthesia lately. So that may be clouding my judgement. I felt that I should probably give it 5, but I'm one of those crazy people who feels like 5 is the most perfect book ever. Then I realize that thinking that, in itself is weird, and that I should just bite the bullet and give it a 5 because it is a debut book and I'm already disappointed that there isn't another book of hers to read, so I should just probably stop being stupid and give it a 5.

Powell's shared a great essay from Molly Prentiss about quitting. I'm glad she didn't quit and that she pushed through to write the book she did. Although now I'm wondering about all of the words she did cut and would love to know about the stories on the cutting room floor. :) Funny enough though... one sentence in that whole essay almost put me off reading the book. She talks about how someone read a chapter of the book and made a reference to Sex and the City. Because of that, I thought that it might be a cheesy book. I'm so glad that I didn't let that deter me from reading it because I can't quite imagine how that connection was made. For some reason I can't quite put my finger on at the moment, the writing almost felt like a star-crossed love affair between Donna Tartt's Goldfinch (something more than the art) and the writing of Lauren Beukes (maybe the mystical dreaminess or happenstance?). I don't really know... but it is a positive for me either way. I picked this up from the library yesterday and read it almost straight through. It was one of the best books I've read in awhile.

It had a definite rhythm and pulse, and it was so full of densely-rich imagery and prose, it was almost overwhelming at times. It often felt like a poem that had been stretched out over several hundred pages. I always enjoy books that leave me wanting more, and this one definitely did. I wanted to find out what the characters would do next. But the ending didn't leave me angry like when you read some books and realize that the author didn't have a way to come to a tidy conclusion so they just lop it off and end and you're like What?!?!. Instead it feels like it is a glimpse into lives that you come into contact with for a little while, but then they go on without you and you'll find yourself wondering about them from time to time.

It is one of those books where you hope they make a movie out of it, but at the same time, you hope they don't because you know that the movie wouldn't be as good/rich as the book and you don't want the experience ruined. I'm sure there are people who will have negatives to say about the book. I am not one of those people who look for negatives when I'm reading. There were a couple of spots where longer comma-rich sentences were rough and pulled me out of the trance of the stories, but they were few and far between. I think that you will definitely hear good things about this book, and I'm looking forward to her next novel already.

And I'm currently knee-deep into this one and loving the lyrical dreamlike quality that it has.

What about you? Reading anything interesting??

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