Saturday, August 14, 2010



I missed posting this feature last weekend. As I recall, my reading in July was disappointing and not very prolific. Let's see if that is true. Here is the list:

Papa You're Crazy, William Saroyan. From the 1957 list. In his usual autobiographical way, Saroyan writes about bringing his son to live with him for a few months on the Santa Monica beach and giving the boy some pointers on being a writer. Not bad.

The Furies, Fernanda Eberstadt. I so loved her latest novel, Rat, that I wanted to read more. This one was incredible. Best thing I read all month.

Judy's Journey, Lois Lenski. Missed this one when I read the 1947 list. I read it many times while growing up, it had a significant impact on my life and re-reading was quite fine.

From the Terrace, John O'Hara. Here is where I ran into trouble. This 897 page bestseller from 1958 took me a week to read, was OK but had a terrible, horrible, very bad ending which depressed the hell out of me for days.

The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi. Wow!! The latest Nebula Award winner blew me away. Not a happy story but so powerful. Set in the future in Bangkok, it is as good as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Actually the writing is better.

Rock Paper Tiger, Lisa Brackmann. Fantastic first novel about a young American woman trying to find herself in modern China while being pursued by three types of security agents. 

The Winthrop Woman, Anya Seton. Another tome from 1958 though this one was great historical fiction about early days in Massachusetts colony.

Await Your Reply, Dan Chaon. One of the better contemporary novels I have read. Mysterious, odd, convoluted story about identity. 

High Five, Janet Evanovich. Well, I couldn't go through a whole summer month without Stephanie Plum. Could I?

Barn Blind, Jane Smiley. Her first novel and a promising debut. Originally I was going to take a "reading vacation" and spend the whole month of July just reading Jane Smiley. Clearly that did not happen.

Around the World With Auntie Mame, Patrick Dennis. One more from 1958. About ten times better than the original Auntie Mame. Funny, sarcastic take on Americans in prewar Europe and the Middle East. 

OK, so I see that it wasn't a bad reading month after all. There are some real gems there. But I only finished 11 books which is low for me. What was worse is that I only read three books from the 1958 list; a personal problem, I know, but still. I blame it all on John O'Hara.

What did you read in July?

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