Jul 28 10:24

Painted Girls, the

author: 
Buchanan, Cathy Marie

Three impoverished sisters with a dead father and an absinthe-addicted mother try to survive in late 19th century France. One of the ways a girl could make money at the time was to be in the Opera ballet school and eventually perform with the ballet. Or pose for Degas.

reviewdate: 
Jul 24 2013
isn: 
978-1-59448-624-1
Jul 20 2013

Interestings, the

author: 
Wolitzer, Meg

Wolitzer gives us six friends, who met at an arts camp in the summer of 1974 when they were teenagers and follows them through their lives to middle age. The book is 468 pages long, and I didn't want it to end. The book is mature, feminist, loving, harsh, sad, privileged and privilege aware and truth telling. It's both big and small, in that in covering several characters over thirty years it's rather epic, but it's more about the passive reality of its characters lives than what happens to them.

Quotations: 

"I know we live in a very sexist world, and a lot of boys do nothing except get in trouble, until one day they grow up and dominate every aspect of society."

"Though he hadn't been born into privilege, he too had been helped up the ladder over time, though the talent he possessed was squarely his."

"But in a lot of ways she could never leave her family drama, and I get that. The past is so tenacious. It's just as true for me. Everyone basically has one aria to sing over their entire life, and this one is hers."

reviewdate: 
Jul 20 2013
isn: 
978-1-59448-839-9
Jul 17 2013

Wonder When You'll Miss Me

author: 
Davis, Amanda

I don't know how to talk about this novel. Plot points and themes include gang rape, weight and body image, mental health and life in a traveling circus. I appreciate the protagonist's emotional progression throughout, but I'm not sure the conceit of her imaginary "fat girl" companion really works. It's still a good book. Read it and tell me what you think.

reviewdate: 
Jul 15 2013
isn: 
0-688-16781-0
Jul 17 2013

Parasite

author: 
Grant, Mira

Attempting to fill the void left by her Newsflesh Trilogy, Mira Grant gives us another near-future made dystopic by a health cure gone wrong. This first entry in the Parasitology series brings us likeable characters, a quasi-believable medical threat (though to be honest far less plausible than how she envisioned zombies), corrupt business practices, mad egomaniacal scientists, strained family relationships and two sweet dogs.

reviewdate: 
Jul 11 2013
isn: 
978-0-316-21895-5
Jul 06 2013

Make Me a Woman

author: 
Davis, Vanessa

Vanessa Davis is only about ten years younger than me, but reading her memoir comics and sketches I felt like a youth culture voyeur, sort of like I did when I watched the Girls pilot, featuring characters closer to twenty years my junior. Davis was 26-32 when she drew the comics collected here, so maybe my reaction isn't too far-fetched. Anyway, that's not to say that I didn't like her work, not at all! I just felt a little distant from it. Some of the issues, feelings and experiences rang true for me, but as in "I get it," rather than "I feel that."

reviewdate: 
Jul 3 2013
isn: 
978-1-77046-021-8
Jul 06 2013

Year One: April 2011-April 2012

author: 
Beyer, Ramsey

Ramsey, whose zine List I've long been a fan of, moves from Chicago to Philadelphia and documents her first year there in one-week chunks. I've read a fair amount of daily comics, which I also like, but I appreciate how an artist giving herself a week allows her more space and the opportunity to be more selective about what she chooses to illustrate and share.


Cover image from author's website.

reviewdate: 
Jul 1 2013
Jul 05 2013

NO NO NO (This is NOT a zine) #5

author: 
Cody, Kim R.

Kim says this will be the final issue of her zine, which makes me sad. I've been exchanging zines and letters with her for a while now--a year or a little bit longer? I wasn't sure how I felt about her and her defensively titled zine, at first, but she came to be one of my favorite pen pals, and her ultimate zine is also one of my favorites.


Cover image from One Minute Zine Reviews.

reviewdate: 
Jun 30 2013
Jul 05 2013

Into the Forest

author: 
Hegland, Jean

Sort of like the movie 2 Days in New York that I watched last week, I am not sure if I admired or hated this book. The writing is good, I guess. It's sophisticated, but not showy, but the characters might be a little hard to love.

reviewdate: 
Jun 30 2013
isn: 
0-934971-50-1
Jun 30 2013

Buried on Avenue B

author: 
De Jonge, Peter

It's weird when a book takes place in a neighborhood you know incredibly well, but is in a universe you've heard about but don't recognize, populated by alcoholic, bigoted police officers. Buried on Avenue B has a second location, Sarasota, Florida, which is not far from Tampa, where I went to grad school. The people in the Publix grocery stores in Sarasota are depicted as nicer than the ones I encountered in Tampa, but there was one commonality--old men bagging groceries. De Jonge assumes they're doing it for the minimum wage. In my naivete, I want to believe it is for something to do.

reviewdate: 
Jun 26 2013
isn: 
978-0-06-209712-5
Jun 23 2013

Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

I like this Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge idea some friend posted to Facebook. (Sorry I can't remember who!) I like this list because it's quirky and somewhat less dude-centric than a lot of you-should-have-read-these-100-books-to-be-worthy types of lists. It is pretty white, though. The person I snagged the list from, snagged it from The Book Club Forum. I fixed a few obvious typos. I wish whoever compiled the list included only things that were actually read, preferably by Rory, not stuff like random movies titles or characters Lorelei blurts out.

The ones I haven't read are in bold, and I've added commentary to a few.