What I’m Reading

UPDATE 12/05/14: Well, I finished The Wonder Spot because I’ve had it on my shelf forever. I’d read the first book by the same author, Melissa Banks, entitled The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing because it got rave reviews and I loved the title, but I was underwhelmed (as I mentioned in my last update). The same was true for The Wonder Spot, although it did get better after the first chapter. The prose was fine, even lovely in spots, but at the end of it all I wondered what I was supposed to care about in the book because I didn’t care about any of it. But maybe that’s the “wonder” she means. I also re-read David Sedaris’s Holidays on Ice and laughed again at the same things. I’ve taken a break from Scoop, started and stopped The Constant Gardener, and am now in the middle of Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, a collection of short stories by Wells Tower. I’m pretty sure I read most of them before, but I tend to skip around in short story collections, so re-reading them is nice. I’m supposed to read Unbroken for my book club but I haven’t started it (shhhhhhhhh). On my wish list: Demon Camp by Jen Percy, The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison, On Immunity by Eula Biss, and Dork Whore and Machu My Picchu both by Iris Bahr. I’m looking for suggestions, especially for fiction, so if you have any, please send them my way! What have you loved?



UPDATE 10/15/14: I re-read Then We Came to The End and Gone Girl for a book club I’m in; I feel like they both held up, although my book clubbers didn’t like TWCTTE. Sad. I also read My Family and Other Hazards, a hilarious memoir by a writer named June Melby who I met when we published her in Water~Stone Review.  I recommend the book; it’s about growing up on a miniature golf course in Wisconsin, and each chapter is a different hole. So good. I also read two other Tana French books, The Likeness and Faithful Place. Each one was different but had a character from the previous one, which was interesting. Sort of like writing the backstories of all your characters. I read a few unpublished manuscripts, and I’m currently reading Melissa Banks’s The Wonder Spot and Scoop: Notes from a Small Ice Cream Shop by Jeff Miller, but I’m honestly having a hard time getting into either one. I read Banks’s first book, The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing and felt it was a little overrated; Jeff Miller’s book has the potential to charm (it’s a memoir about his move from London lawyer to Hayward, WI dairy owner, so it could be good) but the writing isn’t that interesting so far. He’s got a lot of details but they don’t all feel relevant, and there are scenic moments but I don’t feel grounded in the scenes. But, he’s not a writer by training or trade, so that might be why. Regardless, he was lovely to listen to in person. I saw him and June Melby speak at the same reading event, which was really fun, and he passed out free ice cream samples (generous “samples”) so I thought I’d take a chance on his book. Maybe it’ll pick up.


UPDATE 1/12/14: I finished Ben Percy’s Red Moon and couldn’t sleep for a week afterward. I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, which made me think about cells and race and immortality. I read Prozac Diary by Lauren Slater and The Boys of My Youth by Jo Ann Beard, and I finally read Body Geographic by my thesis advisor, Barrie Jean Borich. It was sooooo good, and I’m not just saying that because I’m in the acknowledgements section. I read some short pieces and some essays and Ayn Rand’s Anthem, which was terrible. I read Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Chronology of Water and it left me with a lot of questions. It was good, but I feel like she could have delved deeper (no pun intended). I still haven’t finished Swamplandia, but hope to this week. If you’ve got suggestions, please let me know!


UPDATE 11/1/13: So I read The One I Left Behind, which I think I liked but I’ve mostly forgotten. Then I read Gone Girl (so good!) and a short story collection by Breece D’J Pancake. I don’t normally read short story collections, but his was pretty good. Unfortunately, this is his only book. I didn’t finish Red Moon yet (have mercy Ben Percy!) nor did I dive back into Body Geographic. I also have a novel called Swamplandia that I’ve added to the queue, courtesy of That Girl Who Reads Books. You know a book is good when it is on recommendation from someone who reads everything. So much to get to, so little time.


UPDATE 8/22/13: Yeah, it’s been a while since I updated this (again). Since I last posted (from what I remember) I read: A Visit From the Goon Squad, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, and Consider the Lobster. I read the first 100 or so pages of The Pale King and then I had to return it to the library. I started but haven’t finished Scott Russell Sanders’s Staying Put. Same with Beloved.  And White Tiger. I read The Brooklyn Follies and Elmore Leonard’s When The Women Come Out To Dance. Most recently, I read Packing for Mars by Mary Roach, Coop by Michael Perry, and In the Woods by Tana French, all of which were very good (but different; the first two are nonfiction, the third is a novel). I was a little disappointed in the ending of In the Woods, but there is a sequel, so I’ll have to read that to see if it answers my questions leftover from the first. I just finished Her, a memoir by Christa Parravani, which was very good but very sad (it’s about a woman whose identical twin accidentally overdoses). I’m currently reading American Psycho (for research on something I’m writing) and Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, a memoir by Anna Quindlan. I don’t recommend American Psycho, unless you want to spend almost 400 pages hating humanity; Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is much easier to digest (ha!) but is a little “fluff” for my preference in memoir. I’d rather she delve more into things but her background is writing advice columns, and this reads very much like that.  I’m also slowly making my way through Red Moon, not because it isn’t interesting (it’s really good) but because I have it on Kindle and I don’t have a Kindle, so I have to read it on my Mac, which is not my favorite. Next in the queue: finish Body Geographic by Barrie Jean Borich (I’m in the acknowledgements!), and read The One I Left Behind, The Boys of My Youth, Pretty Little Mistakes, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. At some point, I need to re-read the Harry Potter books. Winter?


So, it’s been a long time since I updated this page. I read The Girl Who Played With Fire.  And then Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and other concerns, and 11.22.63, the newest Stephen King book.  Then I read the Hunger Games series. Then I read How Did You Get This Number, the second book by Sloane Crosley, whose first book I used in my graduate school entrance essay. Then I read a bunch of stuff. Then I took a break from reading. Then I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It was amazing. Then I re-read Then We Came to the End and it was just as good as I remember. Then I read Word Freak, which I will be guest-posting about next week. Now I’m working on reading/revising my thesis. But I’ll probably start another book soon. And I should probably just start a Goodreads page already and get it over with.

-Sarah, 9/6/12

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