Wednesday, September 4, 2013

For the Record: July 2013

Well okay, so if you saw my last post then you understand why I'm barely posting about July.  :)  With much time in airplanes, I did have some better reading time than I did in June.

The standout this month was Whose Names are Unknown by Sanora Babb.  This was actually a birthday gift from my dad (thanks dad!) based on a mutual admiration for Ken Burns' documentary: The Dust Bowl.  It is immediately apparent that this book was written out of a deep familiarity with the people, and I loved it for that.  The ending was abrupt, but that's a small complaint in light of the wonderful writing and complex characters.  If you have interest in the Dust Bowl, I high recommend this book.

8 Books Read in July: (52 year-to-date)

 1 for Book Club:
  - The Water is Wide, Pat Conroy (4) A memoir I enjoyed! Fancy that!  Of course, it has to do with education in the late '60s, so that might be part of it, but the writing was organized and enjoyable also.

2 Classics:
  - The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck (3.5) I'm not sure how I escaped high school without reading this, but I've finally rectified the situation.  The journalistic/hyper-poetic combo didn't engage me much (the author seemed like an outsider looking in, as opposed to Babb's book below) and the ending?! Um, okay.
  - Whose Names are Unknown, Sanora Babb (4.5) Technically not a classic, as it was only recently published, but it was slated for release in 1939 (when The Grapes of Wrath stole its thunder) and therefore I think it counts.  Reading the two together provided great contrast, and I found this one to be much more personal with much more realistic characters.  There are some similarities in storyline, though these characters are displaced because of the dust rather than the economy alone.

1  Nonfiction:
  - Flapper, Joshua Zeitz (4) This was a nice, engaging social history of the era that has been captivating me recently.  After reading Last Call (political history) and The Worst Hard Time (physical history), not to mention numerous works of fiction, I feel this rounded out my view of the times.

2 Impulse Reads:
  - Mary Coin, Marisa Silver (3.5) A fiction book set in the 30s Dust Bowl - it was good and interesting, but sort of reading "lite" without greatly developed characters.
  - Bobcat and Other Stories, Rebecca Lee (3.5) Sent along with my Indiespensable package...good writing, entertaining stories, ultimately a hopeless feeling pervaded the collection, though, making it not quite as good in my opinion.

2 from my Shelf:
  - Coraline, Neil Gaiman (4) Such a good little read!  I thought the movie was scary, but this was more magical and creative.
  - A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini (4) What? I barely read this?  Yeah.  I'm afraid it suffered major delay due to massive hype.  It was quite good - the story was good enough to make up for somewhat average writing quality.


I'm skipping the "Current" section of this month's post since I'm so behind schedule, but I'm hoping to post about August soon and will include it there!

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