|[yes, I carved this]|
Oh October- I really hate you. The weather can't make up its mind, there are absolutely no days off for holidays, and worst of all, the whole stupid month culminates in the most annoying holiday of the year (parents, please remind your children to not trample peoples' lawns and that doorbells should only be rung once). But, in less than two hours the month will be over and wonderful November will be upon us.
This month's reads:
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
I wrote about this a few weeks ago, but to sum it up, Kingsolver describes the year her and her family spent trying to eat locally. They grew their own food, raised their own poultry, and bought everything else they consumed from their own community. Kingsolver shares their trials and tribulations, while her husband weighs in on some of the more political aspects and her daughter provides recipes.
Verdict: I thought their story was fascinating, but at a few points I did get a little bored. I was also a little frustrated at the feeling that my increased vegetable consumption wasn't good enough- I had to find local food on top of eating healthier.
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
This was for work, and is currently the piece we're studying. For those unfamiliar with this classic, it's about Gregor Samsa and his sudden transformation into a giant bug. He must cope with his new body, his family's reactions, and the inner turmoil that naturally comes with the situation. My students are really torn so far as to whether or not they like it; the more advanced ones are fans, while some are taking it quite literally and just think it's "weird." We'll see what they think when we're done with it.
Verdict: It's a short, interesting classic- might as well burn through it in an afternoon and add it to your snooty "yea, I totally read that" list.
The Stranger by Albert Camus
I also read this for work, trying to decide if my students should read this or The Metamorphosis. I actually really liked The Stranger, but opted for the other because I thought the kids would like it more. The Stranger is about a man who ends up involved in a murder, right after handling the death of his mother. He is taken to jail and tried; a simple story on the outside but a fascinating psychological study if you dig a little deeper.
Verdict: Another novella, it's a quick read that will help booster your classics list. Like The Metamorphosis it's a story with layers- something I personally enjoy.
Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
I have no idea what this book is about. Fine- it's a dystopian story about drugs, sex, drugs, anarchy, sex, and more drugs. And Burroughs doesn't go easy on you- everything about this book is pretty hardcore, whether it's the graphic descriptions of shooting up drugs or the violent orgies. At the heart of the book is the questioning conformity and the human spirit, but man- it's a trip. If I had the time/desire I would reread it and try to actually study it, but I currently have neither.
Verdict: Honestly, I didn't really care for it. It has nothing to do with the subject matter, the style and wandering narrative is just not my thing.
The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French
I saw this book at the bookstore and then ordered it on a complete whim- the premise alone sounded pretty quirky. Mary Lou, an older lady from Memphis, decides to take revenge against the doctor in charge of a study that subjected her to a radioactive material that ended up giving her daughter terminal cancer. Mary Lou moves to Florida and learns that the doctor now has dementia, so she decides to infiltrate his family and cause havoc from the inside. Her actions end up having far-reaching results that are often humorous but also very, very serious.
Verdict: I thought the first 3/4 of the book was decent- maybe not exceptionally well-written, but at least original in premise. The end was a bit forced and choppy, though. It's a super quick, entertaining read, though- great after something like, say, crazy Naked Lunch.
Hey, NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow! Let's see how that goes- maybe I won't be loving November as much as usual...