The fact that I cannot get my shit together enough to write in a blog once a week doesn’t bode well for my future as a professional blogger who doesn’t ever have to get dressed or leave her apartment.
Writing about my week in New York City will come (or so I intend) but here’s what I read in July.
The Forever War is a little outdated (circa 2008) but it’s an embedded journalist’s account of war in Iraq. The most moving part is when a soldier is killed essentially because of him.
I’ve never seen much of “Little House on the Prairie,” but Confessions of a Prairie Bitchwas a really fun, quick read by the villain of the show, who went through Some Shit.
This year one of the best novels I read was “In the Time of the Butterflies,” and In the Name of Salome, by the same author, was almost as good. Julia Alvarez’s books weirdly make me want badly to go to the Dominican Republic, even though they’re always about the horrifying oppression the country has faced. This one is oppression + poetry + identity politics.
Sometimes I read books, and then like them, for reasons I can’t fully understand. Ipso facto: Driving with the Devil, which is about, of all things, NASCAR. (The titular promise of moonshine made me do it.)
This is the summer I Learned to Stop Worrying and Like Teddy Roosevelt, At Least Kind Of. This is based heavily on The Roosevelts: An American Saga, which skews very heavily toward the TR side of things and left FDR looking like kind of a dick. I still think TR is a warmonger, but this made me temper my criticism a bit.
Oh, Jonathan Kozol. I firmly believe that I will love everything he ever writes. I just as firmly believe that America would be a better, more empathetic country if everyone read just one of his books.Amazing Grace would be a good starting point.
Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Pageis great if you want to know about the guitars he plays. It’s a little less helpful if your biggest Led Zeppelin wondering is, “Did you guys really make groupies have sex with fish???” It’s probably worth a read if you have even the slightest interest in rock and/or roll at any rate.
I feel like a lot of books about immigrants in London have kind of a similar tone (the Zadie Smith kind.) To be clear, I like Zadie Smith and have read all of her books, but Brick Lane felt a lot more satisfying, probably because Monica Ali can give a good ending to a book.
Chronicles, Volume 1 Fuck yeah Bob Dylan. This had a similar feel to “Just Kids” by Patti Smith, the I-want-to-time-travel-back-to-NYC-40-years-ago feel. The thing that is interesting and most Dylan-esque about this books is that he spends probably 50 pages talking about the recording of an album I’ve never heard of (“Oh Mercy”) but not once–literally NOT EVEN ONE TIME–are the words “Like a Rolling Stone” mentioned. God bless that man.
The best pieces in Everybody Was Kung-Fu Dancing, a great title by the even-greater named Chet Flippo, were about John Lennon. If you think of John Lennon as a lovable dick, as I do, they won’t change your mind, but you’ll think it even more and have evidence that can support either side of the ongoing Beatles vs. Stones debate you have with your boyfriend. (Wait, what?)
Stuntman! Silly in a good way. The kind of book you’d expect from a man who professionally fell off horses and jumped off buildings and lived with Burt Reynolds. One that probably actually warrants an exclamation point in the title.