Readathon In Review

October 14, 2015

I’m a bit delayed in this, but I’m finally sitting down to recount my Popepocalypse Readathon experience. I think it ended up going really well. It was nice to have a few days in which I decided to just devote the time to reading and relaxing. Also, the weather was great, so I spent a ton of time out on my balcony (did I mention my new apartment has a balcony? It’s fantastic and I’m kind of obsessed with it) and at the local coffee shop’s outdoor seating just enjoying the lovely weather with tea and books.

Yeah, yeah, I get it. I should stop blathering on about the weather and tell you about the books.

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First up was Woman Rebel by Peter Bagge. It’s a graphic … biography? (like graphic novel, but a biography. Can I just call it a graphic novel even though it’s a true story?) about Margaret Sanger, who is generally regarded as the mother of birth control. She’s was a bit of a complicated woman and remains a polarizing figure since she wasn’t super intersectional in her feminism, but I think that this was book was a fair representation of her. The art style of this wasn’t my absolute favorite, but I think that’s just personal preference.

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After that, I moved on to Peter Pan. I mean, it’s a classic. I don’t even have much to say about it beyond that. It’s a good deal darker and a kind of more bizarre than all the Disney-fied versions that we see these days.

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The next book I read was Bloggess Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy. I honestly recommend that everyone read this because it is touching and inspiring and hilarious and so many other things that I don’t even have words for. But careful reading it in public because after a while it becomes really difficult to stifle all the laughter.

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Then I moved on to Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older. This had been on my list for a while and I realized that this readathon was the perfect time to dive in. You guys, this book was so good and so much fun. So. Much. Fun. It’s part of the Bone Street Rumba series and I’m excited to read the other books that take place in this world.

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The book I closed out the readathon with was Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine. Again. So good. This is one that I think I want to read again even though it’s only been a couple of weeks since I finished it.

I had so much fun doing this readathon and sharing pictures of what I was reading and my progress on social media (and if you’re not following me on Instagram, why not? You’re missing out on some awesome bookish pics. And random shots of food and my cat for variety). Can I just have a three-day weekend to do this every couple of months? That would be spectacular.

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Review — Housekeeping

September 16, 2012

Back in August, my subway book was Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. I don’t know why it has taken me so long to review it. I guess other books and school and internships provide a veritable smorgasbord of decent excuses. All the same, I really enjoyed it and if I’m going to skip reviewing a book it really shouldn’t be that one.

When I visit book blogs I often end up adding books that I see reviewed to my list if they aren’t on it already, or bumping up books that have languished on the list for years to the top. If there’s even a chance that my words have the same effect on others, than Housekeeping needs to make an appearance.

The description from Goodreads:

A modern classic, Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, their eccentric and remote aunt. The family house is in the small Far West town of Fingerbone set on a glacial lake, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck, and their mother drove off a cliff to her death. It is a town “chastened by an outsized landscape and extravagant weather, and chastened again by an awareness that the whole of human history had occurred elsewhere.” Ruth and Lucille’s struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival, and the dangerous and deep undertow of transience.

I rarely quote copy from Goodreads or the back of the book, but Housekeeping calls for more than I can give.

It is about family and growing up and staying put. About loss and moving on and dysfunction and memory and so many other things. Yep — family, identity, women — Housekeeping has it all. The recurring themes of identity and femininity in the types of “housekeeping” are subtle and profound.

There’s a certain passivity to Ruthie as she matures that in other circumstances I might find perplexing, but in the greater scheme of this work — with its shifting tides of identity and questions of growing up and “out of” or “into” certain things — I think works.

Even writing this is making me want to re-read Housekeeping. It’s a book I imagine I’ll return to quite often in years to come.

Review — Mansfield Park

September 15, 2012

I finished reading Mansfield Park not too long ago. It took me longer than I expected to finish, partially because of my previously-mentioned inability to focus on one book at a time, but also because despite my love for Jane Austen, I just couldn’t get into this one.

It turns out I’m not really alone. Ask a selection of Austen fans to rank the novels, and Mansfield Park will as often as not end up closer to the bottom. It’s denser and the characters are harder to like. Bits of witty repartee are few and far between.

It’s not that I didn’t like Mansfield Park, it’s just that I didn’t like it nearly as much as the other Austen novels I’ve read. When deciding which book to pick up of the four or five I was in the middle of, Mansfield Park just didn’t reach out to me as much, and so it took longer to get through.

Now, trying to paint you a picture in this review becomes increasingly problematic. It’s not that nothing happens, it’s just that it happens so slowly and the characters don’t endear themselves to the reader, so you don’t particularly care. Fanny Price isn’t a bad person, she’s just kind of dull. And Edmund means well, but is easily distracted and even more easily manipulated. These are our protagonists.

And our inevitable Austen scandal isn’t particularly surprising given what we know about those involved. The cousins are selfish and flighty, the Crawfords equally selfish and somewhat devious, so really, what did you expect?

I may try to give this one another go when I’m out of my read-80-books-at-once phase and can actually concentrate on it. It really is considered to be one of Austen’s more profound works, so I should probably give it the attention it deserves. Right now though, I’m thinking I may revisit good ol’ Pride and Prejudice as it’s been a while and I have a new copy to break in…