Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Summer of Reading

This summer has been exceptionally HOT. I can't seem to find any actual WICHITA dates, but Medicine Lodge seems to have reached 63 days (or more) of 100+ degree weather. That's over two months, folks. Since that is our summer here, I have NOT been turning on the stove that often. When I did cook it was usually just to boil some pasta. One great thing about pasta is that you can keep it around and make different meals out of it. Italian dressing for an easy cold pasta salad, a few veggies, maybe add some pasta sauce from a jar, some spices... the possibilities are, well not quite, endless.

No, this post is not about food.

It is about books. I was a damn reading fool this summer. I Finished the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series (the books that HBO's True Blood is based on) by Charlaine Harris. I read 7 of them in about a week and a half. Mindless dribble, and about the closest thing I'll ever get (and admit) to romance novels. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed them! They are just a very easy read, and not too much existentialism to digest. My entire purpose for reading them was that up to that point I had read a lot of serious non-fiction and just needed a break. After I finished those, I headed over to the Mercy Thompson novels by Patricia Briggs. More fantasy, yes, but not so much overtly sexualized characters. Although I do enjoy the series (I got through 3 in a week), I was ready for something different. My brain needed some stimulation. So what did I decide to read? "The Sea of Monsters" by Rick Riordon, second in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, shelved in Young Readers. Yep. Deep. Ok, it was a hot summer!! At this point it's the middle of July. I saw through my FB feed a link to an NPR article about Superhero books. One in particular caught my eye called "Soon I Will Be Invincible" by Austin Grossman. I would qualify it as a 'good' read, but I wasn't awash in amazement afterward. I bought along with 'invincible' a book I had noticed 2 years ago when I first started working at Barnes & Noble - "The Unit" by Ninni Holmqvist. I read this book in just over a week, and only at work. I only get approximately one hour to read at work, that is if I don't get interrupted. So only reading for about an hour for 5 days is saying something! This was a fast read and I really wanted to keep going. In fact, the day I finished it I came home and finished it in my room. I just couldn't wait to see what happened. The subject of the book hit somewhat close to home - it takes place in the somewhat possibly near future (in Sweden) where women over the age of 50 and men over 60 are taken to be experimented on humanely and have their organs harvested if they are not working in a profession deemed 'productive' and have not had children. The antagonist ends up getting pregnant (sorry if I spoil it, but you see it coming) and the rest of the book is written in a way that makes you think. Excellent. Recommended. Next I picked up "Juliet, Naked" by Nick Hornby. I've only read one other Nick Hornby title - "High Fidelty". I enjoyed his style and the voice of the book, and now that I've read another of his I am kicking myself for not picking his books up sooner and more often. Being a musician struggling to admit that I am so, books about morose musicians appeal to me. This happened to be part of the storyline. Girl is with Boy (ok, so they're almost middle aged), Boy cheats on Girl and therefore Girl has great excuse out of a lousy relationship. Girl meets musician (who is coincidentally the subject of Boy's obsession) and starts to think she can live again. The end of the book leaves the character's future to the reader's imagination, as if we think of these things everyday anyway. It seems like real stuff and real people as opposed to fantastical worlds where anything is possible. I am currently reading "Super Sad True Love Story" by Gary Shteyngart. I waffled over starting this book (since I had already bought it a few weeks ago) and trying out "The Help" which has been so popular. I decided to go with 'love story' a) because I had it and b) because a friend and former co-worker had previously mentioned she enjoyed it. I'm just a few chapters in, I'll let you know if I like it at the end!

Til next time... Good eats and reads