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Books of Christmas Present

Recent reading, starting now, because i can’t remember things like…yesterday…

The Amber Spyglass – Philip Pullman – 3/18ish/08 – Reread, right, again.  Not much to add.  This series is among the best.  This book is not quite on a level with the others, but still good – i’m not sure if there’s any way to wrap up the vastness of this story without leaving at least a little bit to be desired.

The Subtle Knife – Philip Pullman – 3/12/08 – Reread, clearly.  But, see, it’s cool to re-read something when it’s been so long that you don’t much remember what happens.  Oh, this one is just as good as, possibly better than, the first.  It’s also nice to not have to wait for him to write it.  The Golden Compass is a hell of a cliffhanger.

The Golden Compass – Philip Pullman – 3/10/08 – Reread. Been a long time, but i’ve held since i first read it that this is among the very best of fantasy writing. On rereading, the only change i’d make to that statement is it’s almost equally science fiction as fantasy. On to the sequels (this is the first in the His Dark Materials trilogy!)

The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories – Earnest Hemingway – 3/8/08 – I love my Hemingway. I’d already read a number of the stories in this collection, but for the most part it had been so long it was very worth rereading, and there were also new ones, such as the title story. By far the best, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” is one of the most perfect short stories i’ve read.

The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kid – 2/27/08 – Look, something i haven’t read before! Good book. I almost put it down after about chapter two because i wasn’t up for all the depressing terrible-life shit, but i gave it one more chance and it moved past that, at which point it was difficult to put down. It’s kind of surreal, without being totally unbelievable. Charming and rough.

The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger – – Reread. I first read this when i was 15, and it was a life changing experience. The whole thing just meshed perfectly with where i was “at.” So i was leery to re-read it; afraid it might kill the magic. It wasn’t the same, of course, but it’s still quite good, which makes the whole situation okay.

The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien – hmm, i seem to have lost track of time – Reread, of course. I can’t begin to talk about this because you might realize what a nerd i am. Oh, wait. Well, also, it might go on for pages.

The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien – 11/25/07 – Reread, of course. It’s no Lord of the Rings, but it’s a lovely story. I have, of course, been a Tolkien fan-girl since my dad used to read The Hobbit to us at bedtime.

A Farewell to Arms – Earnest Hemingway – 11/14/07 – Reread. But it’s been a long time, and i’d forgotten most of it. It seems similar to For Whom the Bell Tolls – you know, love and war. But, really, the romance was very similar. The problem is that For Whom the Bell Tolls is notably better. I might not have noticed had i read them further apart, but with only a few months between the similarities made it clear.

Stone Butch Blues – Leslie Feinberg – 10/18/07 – I stayed up late finishing this. It’s a tough read, but it softens up toward the end so that by the time you finish it leaves you feeling almost good. Also extraordinarily interesting, as a (fictionalized) memoir, but also as an account of the history of the feminist and gay movements, and the labor movement to a lesser extent. Not to mention all the ideas surrounding Butch and Femme and a variety of other categories. (told you i was on a dyke kick…what next?)

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson – 10/14/07 – Reread. This is an excellent book. I don’t know what else to say – it’s sort of tragic and uplifting and funny. Mostly it is completely foreign to me (and i don’t mean British), which makes it fascinating. I am, it seems, on a dyke reading kick.

Fun House: a family tragicomic – Alison Bechdel – 10/3/07 – Jake left this on the living room table, so i read it last night. Alison Bechdel, by the way, does the awesome comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. The book is comic-book style, so it’s a quick read (being mostly pictures). It’s an autobiography, it’s very well written and (especially) well drawn and a rather sad story, with some really funny good anecdotes (as may have been alluded to in the title).

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – JK Rowling – 9/29/07 – I wasn’t as excited by this one as by the 6th (the 6th was one of those books that was impossible to put down). It was a little preachy and not as exciting. On the other hand, i feel i did it a disservice by reading it because i didn’t have anything else to do rather than because i was excited about it at the moment. On the bright side, i finished the series before i was told what happened. The best part was definitely Snape’s memories, i liked that.

For Whom the Bell Tolls – Earnest Hemingway – 9/25/07 – Great book. Very different style than the previous. Equally good. You intellectuals will probably like this one better, it has things other than dialogue and facts – things like thoughts. It’s not as depressing as it might be. I mean, it is about war, but it sets you up for a terrible ending, and the ending is actually only pretty bad. Here, i even wrote a review of sorts.

The Sun Also Rises – Earnest Hemingway – 9/17/07 – Reread. But if you’ve read it you already knew that, and that i like this book more each time. It took me about a month this time, i just wasn’t in a reading mood. You should read it…unless, of course, you’re one of those intellectuals who doesn’t read Hemingway. ;)

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald – 8/9/07 – Reread. But the last time was in high school, so i didn’t remember a thing but being impressed with his writing style. Again, that is what stands out.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austin – 8/5/07 – Reread. I qiute like this book (against my expectations, the first time i read it). It is engrossing and smart, without being at all anything i can relate to. Which, both times i’ve read it, has been a good thing…it ties up my brain without involving my heart.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – JK Rowling – 8/3/07 – Fun, of course. I’ve come to think they are as much mysteries as anything. I didn’t find it quite as dark as the 5th one (but it’s been quite a while).

The Primal Feast: Food, Sex, Foraging, and Love – Susan Allport – 6/8/07

The Omnivore’s Dilemma – Michael Pollan – 5/24/07

Don’t Think of an Elephant! – George Lakoff – quick read (and short), smart, definitely worth reading if you care about politics, or how the world is turning. A bit repetitive because it’s a collection of essays.

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