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Okay, so I didn’t review each one as I read it. I didn’t expect I would, either. Oh well.
I think I forgot to mention that I read Apocalypse Chow (256 pages) by Jon Robertson. At least, I think I read it this month. It was good, anyways. Informative, and vegan to boot! Oh, and entertaining most of the time. I took notes. 4.5/5
At my work I finished Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping (256 pages) by Paco Underhill was fascinating. Lots of anecdotes, and I loved the idea of having your job be to follow someone around a store and write down everything they do. It really helped pass the time at work. 4.5/5
Tanglewreck (415 pages) by Jeanette Winterson wasn’t really up to the writing standard I expect of her. I know it’s written for a twelve-year-old level, but it still bugged me. On the other hand, the strange plot and random details (All the Popes end up on the Einstein Line when they die, and eventually they built them a Vatican there) were just what I was hoping for. Overall, 3.5/5 or so.
The Global Warming Survival Kit (251 pages) by Brian Clegg was another one of the books I took notes on, in my peak oil survival notebook. That was a little annoying, having to take notes, but the book itself wasn’t. It was clear, informative, just the sort of things I wanted to know, and with lots of promising references. It did mention some painfully obvious things, but I suppose you have to. (If it’s cold, trying layering clothing to keep warm. Wrap up in blankets.) 4.5/5
Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic (236 pages) by John DeGraaf, David Wann, and Thomas H. Naylor was nothing life-altering, but it did make ponder my spending habits a little (sure, I save half my money for college, and 10% for charity, but is blowing 40% of my money on whatever doesn’t make me feel guilty a good thing?). I didn’t really look forward to reading it, but it wasn’t bad. 3/5
Books read: 9
Pages read: 2,134
Male authors: 8
Female authors: 5
Money spent on books: $0, I think. (Of course, these figures are all not counting the shipping cost of Bookmooch books, which is substantial)
As I may have mentioned before, the library has a lock-out right now, so I stocked up on books the day before, but I’m reading the final one now… It’s quite sad.
Weight by Jeanette Winterson (151 pages) was a re-telling of the story of Atlas and Heracles. I wasn’t disappointed; Winterson’s prose continues to captivate. As usual, though, with her work, there wasn’t really a sense of a beginning, middle, or end. Like in Lighthousekeeping, it felt like dipping into a story and then surfacing just as unexpectedly. I loved her Heracles character, and the description of Atlas’s devotion to the world he supported and the dog (Laika) was heartbreaking. 4.5/5
I impulsively picked up The Anxiety of Everyday Objects by Aurelie Sheehan (278 pages)
when stocking up on library books The writing was interesting, the plot was pretty good, and one of the characters turned out to be lesbian-ish. It was an okay read, nothing marvelous, but not bad. 3/5
The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook by Albert Bates (197 pages) was something I’d meant to read since I first became more interested in peak oil, and I’ve read some great recommendations for it. Plus, the foreword is by Richard Heinberg. At first I dismissed the recipes, because a lot of the ingredients were only grown in very specific climates (no chiles for me after peak oil!), but after a while I realized most of them were vegan, so that’s handy. The recommendations were good, the instructions were clear, and I loved the quotes. One section confused me, though, since it claimed that very soon all vehicles could be converted so that they were dependent on oil. But the rest of the book is how to deal with these systems collapsing… strange. Overall, quite good, better than Peak Oil Survival. I think I’ll be buying it soon (It’s a library copy).
I’ve been requesting multiple Rita Mae Brown books from Bookmooch.com, as I was telling my mom. I told her it probably wasn’t a good idea since I hadn’t read any of her books yet, and she was aghast that I still hadn’t read Rubyfruit Jungle (she was the first person to recommend it to me, about a year ago, when she heard I hadn’t read it and said “And you call yourself a lesbian.” That comment was what sparked by lesbian reading obsession), so I picked it up (246 pages). It’s great! No wonder everyone raves about it. If I could describe it one word: gutsy. She makes no apologies, tackles not just lesbianism, but also polyamory, even touching on racism and incest as a taboo. Even for these times it’s gutsy, so writing it decades ago is epic. Loved it, I’m looking forward to reading her other ones. 5/5
I also finished a couple more books at work. (Slacking? Me? Never!) Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi (192 pages) is a kid’s graphic novel, and it was a quick read. The artwork was amazing, I’ll be looking for the graphic novels Kibuishi has done, and the plot was fabulous, too. Can’t wait ’til volume 2 comes out! 5/5
Don’t Get Too Comfortable by David Rakoff (240 pages) was another humor collection of essays that L recommended. It was interesting, and I loved reading something from a gay man’s perspective (I’m tired of straight narrators). The bored viewing of a Playboy shooting was particularly amusing. 4/5
Well, Lesbian Reading Month is a go, but a bit delayed. I had to finish the Peak Oil Survival guide first, and then during some slow time at the store, I ended up finishing two other books, so there’s more male non-fiction than I was hoping for this month. Oh well!
Peak Oil Survival: Preparation for Life After Gridcrash by Aric McKay (128 pages)
Well, I did take a lot of notes, but it wasn’t all I was hoping for. It didn’t really say the important things: how to stay warm in the winter, and most of all, how to get food. That’s what was really lacking. It was okay, but not worth buying. 2.5/5
Things I’ve Learned from Women Who’ve Dumped Me edited by Ben Karlin (240 pages)
Great book to pass the time. One of the main reasons I bought it, though, was for Stephen Colbert’s contribution, and his story turned out to be pretty much just the gag of haivng it edited by his wife, with very little remaining, which was disappointing. The stories are entertaining, though, and well-written. 3.5/5
Other People’s Love Letters by Bill Shapiro (192 pages)
I loved this one. In the same vein as Postsecret and Found, this is a collection of love letters, but they’re not all happy ones. I was grinning like an idiot for some of them, but many were quite sad. It also has convinced me I should get a typewriter, because I love the look of those letters. If you like Found and Postsecret, you’ll probably like this. 4.5/5
On to the lesbian reading!
Another Kind of Love and Love is Where You Find It by Paula Christian (304 pages)
This is two books in one volume, but I’m counting them separately. I decided I’d start off Lesbian Reading Month with some lesbian pulp fiction, so I was very happy to see that the library right across the parking lot from my work had this one. I quite enjoyed them, though the obligatory “Being gay is a mental disease!” were tiresome. 3.5/5
Deliver Us From Evie by M.E. Kerr (192 pages)
This one I whipped through in a day. I like little books sometimes. It’s a sweet story about a farm boy whose sister is a lesbian. Light read, nicely written. I really liked the character of Evie. 4/5
If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho translated by Anne Carson (~50 pages)
This book is technically 416 pages, but it is a collection of all of the fragments of Sappho’s work in the original Greek and the translation on the next page, so half of it doesn’t really count (I can’t read Greek) and many, if not the majority, of the pages would have only a couple words on it. I’m glad I can now say I read all of Sappho’s remaining works, even if one fragment was just “sinful” and another was “rosy-fingered Dawn” (each with a page of its own). My favorite fragment seems nearly complete on its own. Ann Carson’s translation is this:
He seems to me equal to gods that man
whoever he is who sits opposite you
sits and listens close
to your sweet speaking
and lovely laughing–oh it
puts the heart in my chest on wings
for when I look at you, even a moment, no speaking
is left in me
no: tongue breaks and thin
fire is racing under skin
and in eyes no sight and drumming
and cold sweat holds me and shaking
grips me all, greener than grass
I am and dead–or almost
I seem to me.
And another fragment I love (I’m starting it mid-fragment) (square brackets represent missing bits):
]among mortal women, know this
]from every care
]you could release me
]to last all night long
and just one more:
I treat well are the ones who most of all
and others, too. Ah, Sappho. ❤ 5/5
I also bought a few books from a bookstore on Fort street: Shepherd Books.
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger for $8
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk for $9
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield for $11
for a total of $29.40 after tax.
Now I’m reading the Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith and have a stack of library books to get through. (There’s a lock-out starting at the library on Sunday! Damnit, library, when will you realize you should pay fairly? Graaagh.)