I pull most of my inspiration from books

1 inspiringbookshelf

So it’s super weird to think about, but I can’t remember the last book I finished. It’s pretty disgusting. But that’s not what this post is about–it’s about my craft book collection. It’s no secret to anyone who’s visited me in real life that I surround myself with books, and that includes books that are specifically there to inspire me. These are the books I could spend hours flipping through and where I get a lot of ideas for art projects. A couple of the books have actual crafts and tutorials in them, which is just an added bonus.

Find & Keep

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I won’t lie–I found this book and immediately found my spirit animal in the form of the author. She’s basically everything I aspire to be, and reading about how she just dabbles in a little bit of everything to produce her art made me feel so inspired. Oh and she doesn’t have a driver’s license! It’s not just me! Anyway it’s taken me a long time to call myself an artist (I still stutter, hemming and hawing, feeling like I haven’t earned the title just yet) because a lot of what I love to do is learn new techniques and try out new mediums. Not all of it sticks, but when it does, it gets absorbed into the messy, nebulous field that is my art. It makes me feel really unfinished, though, and unpolished, and this book reminded me that that’s entirely okay. While I’m still trying to shift my focus onto making solid, stand alone finished pieces, it’s a good reminder that I can still play and get my hands dirty, and to surround myself by art that makes my space feel inspiring. Also this is another book I read cover to cover, tutorials and all. Also, bonus? It has some mother-fucking stickers based on her art in the back!

Hoopla

hoopla 1 hoopla 2My newest hobby has been embroidery and when I got this book I literally read it cover to cover, going through all the artists’ different stories and crafts. The projects and art in this book are just amazing and I’m already about a quarter of the way through the conjoined twins embroidery (I think it’ll look fantastic on my wall, don’t you? I’m thinking somewhere by the entrance way).

(un)Fashion

unfashion 1 unfashion 2 unfashion 3I’ve had this book for years, and I won’t lie, sometimes I completely forget about it. Yet whenever I stumble across it, I find myself flipping through it for hours. Everytime I see something new. A lot of it shows fashion in developing countries, often made out of the modern world’s litter and scraps, contrasted with high-end photo shoots in the fashion world & advertising. It has its own beauty and is a great way to stay in touch with the world outside of my own. It’s really just pictures but I always walk away from it with new ideas.

Imagining Ourselves
imagining ourselves 1imagining ourselves 2Okay so this isn’t even close to a craft book, but it’s still super inspiring and makes me feel like an emboldened, empowered woman ready to conquer my life. The layouts also remind me of all the parts I loved about being a features editor for a school paper.The design manages to be full and interesting without being cluttered.

Sticker Doodle Doo
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I found this in the books section of a grocery store. More specifically, in the kids section of the book aisle, but that’s neither here nor there. This book is awesome. The pages are of the decorate-this-project-with-stickers variety, but the prompts are pretty good and can appeal to a larger audience than just kids. Like, it also appeals to adults who like kid-styled art projects. It’s also full of stickers and I don’t know if you’ve picked this up by now, but I just fucking love stickers. They’re the bomb.

Fashion Flip Book

flip fashion 1 flip fashion 2This book is so goofy and fun I just love it to bits. Basically anytime you need to invent someone, or indulge in ridiculous fashion, this book is perfect. I don’t know quite what to say about it, since the concept is pretty basic. Remember this style of books from elementary school? The art is amazing quality and it’s always pretty impressive how seamless the different pieces work together. Oh and the genres vary–21 outfits that you can remix together and they range from cyborg to film star to space cadet. It doesn’t take itself seriously and is a great way to just invent a new character.

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My history with an author

So a long time ago, my stepmom gave me a book she thought I’d enjoy. This one, which I’m just now realizing isn’t even on my shelf. Um, what the heck? No nevermind it’s cool. I just realized where it is. Which is funny, since I always joke with David about how I know where all of my books are. He used to threaten to rearrange them when I wasn’t looking, and I told him I’d know if he did. He didn’t quite believe me (my collection is somewhere around 400) but he never actually tried it. Apparently, though, I can lend out one of my favorite books for a few years without remembering. Oops!

Anyway, I really loved that book of short stories. I think they’re absolutely great, especially as a primer for how to read deeper into stories, if you’re trying to grow your reading comprehension (which is exactly why I lent the book out). When she published The Namesake I read it as well, although I wasn’t as big of a fan as I was her short stories. Her next novel, Unaccustomed Earth, was way better in my mind, and really primed me to be excited about The Lowland, which didn’t disappoint AT ALL.

A lot of the time I like to reference Franzen as my core Great American Novel example, because I really think he has an amazing grasp of taking a broad snapshot of America in a certain decade and boiling it down to its core components, and then infusing that into a family he writes about. Which means he ends up being my comparison when I see another author writing in a similar fashion. Which means that Lahiri pulled off the immigrant version of Franzen’s themes SPECTACULARLY. As in, no comparison to Franzen at all, sine she’s an amazingly strong writer in her own right. She wrote an amazing novel about an Indian family and used it to capture the feelings and politics surrounding them through revolution, political activisim, borderline terrorism, immigrating to America, forced marriages, and awful, painful family secrets.

So. Good.

Oh hey that’s right I read

Been a while since I recapped my reading habits, hasn’t it? I can never actually remember if I’ve included all of the books or not. I used to be in the habit of keeping  paper copy of a book journal and it’s clear that I should really get back in that habit.

Inferno Dan Brown

Dan Brown is one of David’s favorite ‘Easy Reads’ so when he finished this book he tossed it my way. I have a hard time taking Dan Brown seriously–I think a great Dan Brown drinking game would include 1 drink for every Mickey Mouse watch reference, 1 drink per tweed reference, 1 shot every time the day could have been saved by a quick Google search. You catch my drift. No seriously, though, even if I mock the book the entire time I read it, I did read the entire thing. It was a fun. At one point David talked me into making a video recording my (somewhat drunken) prediction of what I thought was going to happen. It should be noted that I’m a notorious over thinker when it comes to Dan Brown’s plots, a fact that had David secretly laughing at me for days before I finished the book.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena Anthony Marra

My mom tossed this book my way after she read it, fell in love with it, brought it to her book club, and had them all return their copies to her. Those ladies are missing out, though, because I did find this to be a great book. The main protagonist, though, is my absolute least favorite character in the whole story. She seems to be the link to connect first world women who lead very safe lives to the war-torn countryscape in the book, and to me that comes across so dismissive. Like, you can only understand the pain of the other characters through her pain. As if their pain is something that wouldn’t be considered worthwhile enough without the connection of someone from “our world”. It’s really unfortunate, too, because the rest of the story was very beautiful and heartbreaking and very well written.

The Defining Decade Meg Jay, PhD

My sister and I both received copies of this book as a (Christmas?) gift. I *coughawkwardcough* may have ignored it entirely and may *cough even joked about how I never wanted to read it because who reads those trumped up self help books anyway. My sister read it, though, and assured me it was great and I’d like it and I should totally give it a shot. So I did. I totally get why it resonated with my sister–she is a very linear, rule-oriented and driven person and I’ve never had any doubt about how much success (stereotypical and otherwise) her life is*. To me, though, in light of my very non linear and messy, unstructured lifestyle, it basically felt like chapter after chapter after chapter of telling me that not only am I doing everything wrong, but that I’m already falling behind on every being able to “catch up” to my peers’ successes. I mean, sure I knew the book wasn’t going to tell me to give myself a pat on the back. I’m unemployed, forchrissake. The only thing I am doing right, according to the book, is develop of a deep committed relationship before I hit 30. And even that I managed to screw up, since David and I have no plans of ever marrying. Whoops!

We Need New Names NoViolet Bulawayo

This was a really powerful book that did an amazing job of sharing the world of a girl who was born and raised in Zimbabwe until she’s a preteen, when she gets sent to live in Michigan with her aunt. The story alone is really amazing, but way it was written just blows my mind. Bulawayo has a very strong control over her writing, and was able to use the shape of her words to add different colors to different parts of the story.

Empire Star Samuel R Delany

I read this yesterday. It’s just a novella tacked on to the back of Babel-17 but man oh man. I love Delany. He’s just my favorite writer. I was about halfway through when David asked me how it was going. “Does it make any sense?” he joked, since it’s our little inside joke that Delany writes nothing intelligible unless you’re high on something or other. The weird thing, though, was his writing was the clearest I’ve ever seen. The story was easy to track, the cultures and over arching plot all made sense and things seemed easy. Then I hit the last twenty or so pages and I’m still dizzy for turning my head around.

Babel-17 Samuel R Delany

Sometimes I feel like when I write a review of a Delany book, I should actually just write “i love delany” like twenty times over and call it good. It would be about as effective and, unfortunately, about as interesting. I feel like the goal of a science fiction writer is to play with concepts in their current culture, stretching them and twisting them and drawing them out into stories that explore or try to explain how people react to.. to whatever there is to react to. That rambling thought has a point, I promise. Delany writes like someone who played the what if game, and then started writing before he finished the thought. It’s messy, but he draws you in and makes you a part of the original questions that sparked the story. In this one he played with the idea of language, of how much it shapes your identity, and vice versa. It’s embarrassing to admit that I feel like I missed a bit of the plot because at times it felt like more of a distraction than the primary point for reading.

 

*I am sooo not being sarcastic. Not in the least. I’m very proud of my sister and think she rocks. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with people who have lives similar to hers and successes like hers. If you read that book and find it helpful, then that’s awesome. My main critique with that book was how it’s roadmap for how to live seemed it exclude any other possibility.

What I Read In June

Embarrassing story to start us off–I gathered up all the books I’ve read to take the photo, and then realized I left one out. So I redid the photo, began typing up my reviews, and realized that my first review of Leviathan Wakes felt eerily familiar. I looked it up on the blog and completely forgot which books I read in June–which will teach me to not put off writing these posts until halfway through the next month, eh? So yeah now I’m too lazy to redo the photo for a third time. You get what you get, people 😉

MayJune Reads

Are You My Mother?

I read Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home back in my college days and really loved it. A person who was pretty close to me at the time said it gave them a lot of insight into who I am as a queer lady, as well as my rather unique relationship with my dad. All in all, I would give that book a super positive review. I was excited, then, to pick up this one, a book she supposedly wrote about her mother. Giving a less-than-awesome book review is hard for me, because I don’t want to come across as insensitive. It would be so easy to just write “not really my style” and be done with it, but that’s lazy.

On one of the very last pages, there’s a dialogue between the author and her mother that is such a painfully accurate description of what you just spent the last two hundred pages figuring out. “It’s a metabook” her mother says, to which Bechdel enthusiastically agrees. Fact is, though, I don’t think that’s a good thing. She didn’t write a book about her mother. She wrote a book about herself, about how Alison Bechdel handles her mother’s strained response to the previous book, about Alison Bechdel’s journeys in therapy, about Alison Bechdel’s struggle to write this book.

She did, in fact, write an actual book. Just not one about her mother. Which, I suppose, is fine. The art style is brilliant, as usual, and the issues she juggled were complex and whole. They just weren’t, in my opinion, the fodder for an interesting book. It doesn’t help that I have an almost zero-tolerance for psychoanalysis, but reading entire chapters of Bechdel recounting an abstract dream and attributing it to the one word she saw on an article that relates to her mother and the conversation they had a few weeks ago felt like a waste to me. It felt like her talents needed a slightly stronger editorial hand, someone gently reminding her that while it’s all fine and well to journal about your feelings and strained relationship with your mom, that you probably need to include an actual plot in order for it to be a stand alone, solid book.

I feel like such a bitch for writing that.

The Brief & Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Definitely needs a few re-read throughs, but he did an amazing job writing about Dominican history through a family narrative–which isn’t all that original in structure, but amazingly effective and Diaz has a very strong voice that carried throughout the story. I’ve written briefly before about how each region of the world has a different approach to fantasy and science fiction, and latin america has a very distinct flavor that I usually have a harder time with. This book was a great way to ease into that flow, though, and I really enjoyed it. Also, it was my official June Pulitzer Read. Huzzah!

 

Faithful Ruslan

I cried. That’s the best summary I can offer. This is a Russian novel, one of those contraband ones that took decades to get published and then another decade to make it’s way to the states. The whole story is, essential, an allegory for what Russia was going through at the end of the Stalin era, when camps were closing and how those who spent their life in those camps, as prisoners and as workers, survived the shift. It’s told from the perspective of one of the camp dogs, animals that were trained to be brutal and ruthless. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel the need to compulsively shower Lyra with hugs and pets every ten minutes while reading this, but it was still an amazing book.

The back cover spells out the basics of the plot, which was based on a true story, so it’s no spoiler when I say that the book starts when the camps close and ends when a train of passengers arrive in the town where the dogs migrated to, waiting for their next shipment of people. It has an expectedly horrific ending but even knowing what was going to happen, the way the author ended the book took me completely by surprise. If you have a strong stomach and a love of Russian literature (I meet about 2/3 of the requirements) then this should definitely go on your list.

 

Land of Loss | Everworld Series Book 2

It’s no secret that I’ve been into Animorphs since they first came out, so I remember when i was in middle school and the KA Applegate put out a new series called Everworld, I jumped on that train so fast it’s not even funny. A few books in my mom tuned into the gore that is the series’ inner covers and asked if maybe I should wait a few more years for the series. I’m stubborn and told her no, I could handle it, and continued reading. Long story short, it was too much for me. My tender, gentle middle schooler heart could not handle the gory violence in the books and, defeated, I set the series down.

So…. when I found a couple books at Goodwill, I got super excited. Finally! I’m old enough now! Huzzah! I started reading them, wondering if now I would find them light and trivial and easy reads. They’re still violent. Shockingly so, considering I read them in middle school. Like holy crap violent. For a middle schooler. I like the premise

May’s Awkward Middle Child

I’ll admit it with a sigh–I only read one book in May. Okay, actually, I only finished one book in May. It was a month of starters, apparently, and I’m going strong. Ish. Strongish. We’ll see where June leaves us, but I’m feeling better since I’ve already devoured two whole books this month. Back to what I was saying–I read Caliban’s War, by  James S.A Corey, the follow up to Leviathan Wakes

This novel can be described so succinctly in less than five words– overachieving middle child syndrome. Within the first sixty pages you know that this is not a sequel, but rather is a book being sandwiched between the first and the looming shadow of the unwritten last. I try not to hold any grudges against middle books in a trilogy, because it’s not their fault. I can’t think of any trilogy that had a strong, independent second book; a second book that served a purpose separate from being the set up for the final book’s conclusion. Even my all-time favorite trilogy, His Dark Materials, The Subtle Knife–as wonderful as it was–exists primarily as set up for The Amber Spyglass.

I almost hold a grudge against Caliban’s War, though, because for a couple hundred pages you really start to believe that the authors are going to be bold enough to finish the story line they start in the same book. It’s a gamble, but it’s one that kept me enthralled throughout an otherwise plodding pacing. Don’t get me wrong–the story concept itself was strong, and I really enjoyed reading the expanding details of the political world the authors are creating. The new characters were all strongly written without overlap to too many tropes. The few times the authors seemed to be rewriting old characters into existing name slots, they caught themselves and used other characters to call them out. “You’re turning into X___,” one character accuses another. “You better cut that out.”

Still, something overall about the novel just didn’t click as well with me, and I’ll chalk it up to being the middle child. It took me a lot longer than I expected to read it. My biggest disappointment was felt at the end of the book where, and I’m attempting to do this with no spoilers, but it goes back to expectations. The book starts out with a strong middle-of-the-trilogy feel, introducing a whole swath of new characters that aren’t immediately relevant and you know it’s set up for the next book. A new crisis emerges, and you start to feel like the book couldn’t possibly be complete without the conclusion of said crisis. Detailed (and perhaps overly obvious) foreshadowing managed to tie in another looming crisis with the one we were currently reading about, and maybe that’s where the disconnect happened. I suppose I read them as too intricately entwined, and silly me, I started to believe that one crisis would be the catalyst that solved the other crisis. I was wrong. The end of the book wraps up one, and leaves with an all-too-predictably cliffhanger.

But that’s okay. For all the criticism I might pour onto this book, I pour it out of love. This series has been one of the easiest, candy-like sci-fi books. They read fast because they are fun, and I haven’t felt let down with that element. Sure Caliban’s War might have gotten tripped up with its pacing a couple of times, but it’s stil about space cowboys who’ve gone rogue against the big worlds in order to fight big scary space monsters. So you can’t complain too much, amiright?

Pulitzer Book Review: The Executioner’s Song

I’m super embarrassed to realize I never actually posted a review of this book, especially since I loved it so much. This is part of my goal to read a Pulitzer Prize book a month, which you can read about here.

Norman Mailer won the Pulitzer Prize for his masterpiece The Executioner’s Song in 1980, but it would be over twenty years later until I discovered him. And even then, I read The Naked & The Dead. In fact, every time I tried to draft this review in my head, I just started writing a review for TN&TD, which I think means we need to have a small break for story time.

I was in high school and this guy, this super cool guy, this guy who had always been like a big brother to me, who used to tuck me in at night when I failed to stay up late with the big kids, this guy was going off to war. It was the first time the politics of a world bigger than I was managed to rip through my protective bubble and stare me in the eye, and I was heartbroken. And I was confused. And, finally, I was curious because I was raised in a bubble that doesn’t include war. So somehow, long story short, I bought Norman Mailer’s The Naked & The Dead to learn about war. Spoiler alert (not really) for those who haven’t read it: War is teh lame. In a traumatizing, awful, violent, horrific, psychologically-damaging way. Poor timing aside*, TN&TD blew me away with how brilliant it was. I loved it. I was in love with Mailer’s writing and so eager to read everything else he had ever written and found myself up against a brick wall. This is the part that baffles me, because I’ve always been a sucker for a book with too many pages. If I had seen Executioner’s Song back then, I would have snatched it up in a heartbeat. Barnes & Noble and my high school library really let me down. But that’s okay, because I found it a few months ago and could not stop that swelling wave of wriggly-lined anticipation in my chest.

The best part, guys? It was totally worth it. Yes, it’s long and yes, it’s sad and depressing. But. BUT. BUT! Mailer? He’s a guy who you can trust. You can trust that every single one of those sentences was crafted with painstakingly intentional care. He lets the voice of the story evolve. It evolves, guys, and that nerdy little fact pleases me more than most of the rest of the book. It’s beautiful. It’s heartbreaking. It’s honest. It’s unflinching in its honesty and wow. If I was actually going to write a solid review of this book–side note: you guys know these so-called reviews are really just opportunities for me to wax poetic about my memories of reading, right, because if not, well, awkward… But if I was actually going to write a solid review of this book, I would totally plagiarize the introduction Dave Eggers wrote in the edition I own. He nailed it. It’s the fasted 1000+ page tombe you will ever read UNLESS you’re reading Game of Thrones. Seriously, tell me I’m not the only one who read the entire series in less than a month? I’m not even bragging. It’s not something I’m proud of. Around book three I felt like the characters were holding my eyelids open and forcing me to read unwilling. It was exhausting and draining and a little invasive.

Summation: Win. So much win. So much depressing, agonizing, though-provoking win. Also violence is teh lame. Also also I’m totally going to go re-read TN&TD now.

*He came back from that tour, and from another one, and married my sister last year. I literally walked him down the aisle. Happy endings were had by all. Except, you know, the characters in those books. Below are photos of us at his (and my sister’s) wedding reception. The one on the left is our bear impression. It’s a family tradition.

Reception

Origin Story Time

Hey readers–I figure you don’t want to hear my rant for the next couple hundred words about shitty dog owners and obnoxious people, so let’s take a detour back to the beginnings of this blog.

*Oh that awkwardly extended pause after I mention my dad? Him and I are on good terms too, but for several reasons I just choose to not talk about him on the blog.

What I read in April

The past few months have definitely been a lot more about art than literature–both in the sense of creating and consuming, but there you go. I’m getting better at building a reading schedule into my routine. My personal reading goal is three books a month, and I’m really glad to say that I topped out this month with four (and a half, but you know, that goes into the May pile).

Leviathan Wakes, Author
David and I are starting to get into the obnoxiously couple-y habit of buying books we’re both interested in reading, and this was one of them. It’s a bit mammoth in concept, but the authors handled it a lot better than I expected. The concept blends the themes and style of Joss Whedon’s Firefly with a fifties black noir dime novel. My one critique, which is more of an observation than anything, is that co-authored books (like this one) is that they tend to read with almost a starchy level of structure. Honestly I loved this book and I’m already halfway through the follow up one, which I am shocked to admit holds up all on its own. My biggest complaint was realizing that the authors are the assistants to George R R Martin, and my main thought was ‘What the heck are you guys doing writing your own books? Let’s get the Game of Thrones series finished already!!’

The Prisoner of Heaven, Carlos Ruis Zafon
David’s coworker passed this book along to me after her initial recommendation, The Shadow of the Wind, was met with my confession that I already read it (it happens embarrassingly often, #humblebrag much, which is why I avoid book recommendations like the plague). This is a follow up to Shadow of the Wind, which was a scary and creepy and good. This book was also scary and creepy and very good. It was a lot more violent, though, which I could have done without. It was the worst kind of oh-this-really-happened violence, too, which makes it so much harder to stomach. This book was a fast read, though. The first half took me through the three hour boat ride to Victoria and the second half kept me occupied during the return boat trip home. It also ends with a very clear set up for another book, which seems like it’ll be a really good one.  

Single Infertile Female, Leah Campbell
Read this one after the blogger self published. I’ve read her blog for a couple years now, and the book provided a lot of “behind the scenes” details to her story. Similar to other blogging authors, her book’s story and writing style is a slightly more polished very of her blog’s story and writing style. I’m hesitant to write anything but a glowing review, because the author is a blogger whom I admire quite a bit on a personal level. In the end, though, I have to be honest. Her book felt incomplete, as though it lacked purpose. If she had written a memoir, she was missing too many details and structure to give a complete picture of her life. If she was writing with the main goal of giving a voice to women who suffer from infertility, then I’d say she let her story get a little overshadowed by the boy drama. In the end, her book was neither a memoir nor about her journey with infertility–it was a summarized, slightly polished version of her blog posts.

The Executioner’s Song, Norman Mailer
Since this is part of my Pulitzer Prize Reading Project, I’m going to save my full review for one of my monthly recaps, but I’ll leave you with this. Oh man. So much yes. It was intense, it was emotional, and like everything that man writes, reading it was like a gentle massage for your eyes. Well, maybe more like a deep tissue massage. A little painful but in a good way.

Pulitzer Book Review: A Visit From The Goon Squad

Alright, so this is the second post of what will become a monthly thing, based off my goal to read more Pulitzer Prize books, which you can read about here.

I read the winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction category, A Visit From The Goon Squad, only because I had fallen madly, sickeningly in love with The Invisible Circus when I read it in middle school. Jennifer Egan had a way of using her pen to reach into my childish, little-sister heart and speaking to it. A lot of authors have written powerful novels that make me feel not alone, and she is definitely one of them. When I saw she had written a new novel, I snapped it up without hesitation. In the land of hipster cred, I read it before it won the Pulitzer.

There are way too many avenues I can write on for Goon Squad, and as such it makes me feel indecisive. Where do I start? I’ll start with the end–it’s my favorite part. I won’t spoil any part of the novel, but there’s a part where Egan jumps to the near future. Like, the future my kids will be living in when they’re ten or twelve, which was a way interesting teaser trailer of the future.  One of the characters, a little girl, keeps her journal in powerpoint format and that Egan pulled it off makes me think she’s a genius. It’s the little things, I guess.

I almost feel too much of a fan girl to write a decent review, because my perceptions of this book are flavored with the hue of middle school crushes. Her writing has a strong voice, yes, but also a familiar voice. When critics give her the hollow expression of being a voice for her generation, it shockingly enough fits. Her voice is similar in cadence to Franzen and Safran Foer, although distinguishable in her own right.

I read her for the first time in middle school, and even though it was a book about the post-sixties, and a book about not experiencing the sixties, it spoke to me where I was in my life (the little sister to a inherently cool big sister). Reading her again in early college, I wasn’t disappointed. While I’ve changed a lot since middle school (thank the maker, amiright), so had Egan. Her new novel spoke to where I was in life–growing up, curious about what the rest of it looks like, curious about how all the jigsaw pieces I’ve collected from my childhood could possible fit into the puzzle of adulthood. 

Summation: Egan does not disappoint & ages well.

What I read in March

Ugggh I’d be lying if I tried to pretend that I didn’t spend the last week furiously reading my books to try and finish something anything before having to write this post, but no such luck. If you don’t count the ten Animorph books (and I don’t, since they take me twenty minutes to read), I’ve only finished 1 book. *le sigh.  I have 80 pages left in Vang Gogh’s biography, I’m 450 ish pages into The Executioner’s Song and 30 pages into Sybil Exposed, but now I’ve gone and given away my April recap before the month even had a chance to start…

 

Blindness, Jose´ Saramago
I picked this book up on a whim, which isn’t at all uncommon for me. I’m afraid of reading books that I dont’ think will be good, though, so I avoid Booker Prize books (oh snap) and pick based on the author that wrote an introduction, if the book won a Nobel Prize or a Pulizter or something. Or if the cover is designed really well, I guess. Anyway, this one apparently won the 1998 Novel Prize for Literature. This book was a bit of a trip to read, but in a good way. The entire city is infected with a blindness plague, and his writing style fits perfectly with the essence of the story. Long, run-on ‘dreamy’ sentences and conversations with no quotation marks all build up the disorienting experience of being surrounded and engulfed by unexpected blindness. It has a very dark, post-apocalypse style approach to the humanity and experiences which made it a little tough to read. Very worthwhile, though. I want to check out the sequel now!