One Day by David Nicholls
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, translated by Lydia Davis
The Best American Comics 2010 edited by Neil Gaiman
The Best American Non-required Reading 2010 edited by Dave Eggers
Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust, translated by Lydia Davis
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by Davis Sedaris
A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse (birthday present)
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (birthday present)
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (birthday present)
Celtic Folklore Cooking by Joanne Asala (birthday present)
Ape House by Sara Gruen
One Day by David Nicholls
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling (re-read, audio)
Clementine, Friend of the Week by Sara Pennypacker
Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
Questions about Angels by Billy Collins
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling (re-read, audio)
*(For the audio books I listened to, I put my paper copy in the stack for the photo)
Not a bad reading month, boosted by audio books! I’ve really been enjoying listening to Jim Dale read Harry Potter books to me. :) It’s really amazing how much more “reading” time you get a month when you can listen to audio books during mundane activities like cleaning & washing dishes, and also while walking. I’ve also started listening to audio books while in the shower, although I have to turn the volume on my iPod dock up very loud to hear it over the noise of the water. Sometimes I listen before bed and drift off to sleep while it’s going, which I think is the cause of all the dreams I’ve had lately where I have to fight Lord Voldemort.
I wanted to review Ape House in its own, full post, but I just couldn’t work up the enthusiasm to write a whole post about it. I had high hopes for Sara Gruen’s new novel, since I adored Water for Elephants so much. I tried to keep my expectations in check, but I found Ape House to be disappointing. It lacked the magical feel that Water for Elephants evoked – the magic of settling down to enter into a book and feeling yourself embraced by the story. I’m not sure if I’m describing this very well – but it mainly just seemed to be an average reading experience, instead of an extraordinary one. If I try to put my finger on the difference, I’d guess that the fact that it’s set in the present day, along with the changing point of view, didn’t help it. Maybe it’s simply a case of historical fiction seeming more magical because it takes us to a time unlike our own. I also didn’t find the characters (with the exception of the Great Apes) very endearing, possibly because we didn’t get a lot of time with them.
One Day, on the other hand, is a story that definitely benefits from multiple points of view. I love the structure of the book – it follows the two main characters through their lives on only one day (the same day – July 15) of every year for 20 years. It’s funny, and the story welcomes you into it. I couldn’t put it down and I finished it in about 2 days. I think it will make a great movie, as well.
This month I read the latest Clementine book by Sara Pennypacker: Clementine, Friend of the Week. The new book in this series of children’s books is just as good as the ones that came before it, and was a charming read. Clementine is like a modern day Ramona – goofy, strongheaded and stronghearted, and a bit of a unintentional troublemaker. And of course, completely fabulous.
My library, the Hoboken Public Library, has recently expanded its Graphic Novels section, and it’s quite spectacular now. I picked up Ghost World because it’s a classic one that I’ve never read. I enjoyed it and am glad I read it, although it’s not going to make my list of favorite Graphic Novels. I’d like to watch the movie now, I’ve never seen it. I can’t wait to read more of the great finds I’ve spotted in that section.
I finished another book of poetry by my favorite poet, Billy Collins: Questions about Angels. I keep one of his books on my nightstand, and I try to read a poem each day. I think that reading a poem a day is a way of guaranteeing a little bit of art and beauty in your day, as corny as that sounds. I love having a Billy Collins collection at hand for this, and my other favorites are Garrison Keillor’s two poetry anthologies: Good Poems and Good Poems for Hard Times. For anyone interested, I just searched online and was delighted to see that Billy Collins will have a new collection out next year (3/29/11), called Horoscopes for the Dead.
Separate post for Skippy Dies is coming soon.