End of June Review
June is done. I’ve accomplished a lot and had a lot of stress along the way, coinciding with the end of the academic semester. Mostly, I’m happy to get some big things out of the way despite some certain failures.
Books Read and/or Reviewed
My reviews of independent books this month are a little dry. I don’t know what happened, but somewhere, mid-month, my energy to charge through these poorly structured and written tomes just broke. Usually I find one here and there that is good enough to keep me going. So far this year, I’ve found none. The one I did review this month is Root Bound. Many recommended it, but overall it was a waste of time.
As for my regular reading, in the beginning of the month I got on a strong graphic novel kick, busting out four in a row. Most of the time it was just coincidence that I found myself with free time and the only thing available were these books. The first one was Skim. I thought the key elements in the novel were well-played, not to mention the dynamic art. Overall, though, the depressive main character and sort of unresolved ending left me feeling less than pleased, but that’s not to say it was bad. It just felt too teenager-like, and who wants to be reminded of being a teenager that well? The second one was American Born Chinese. This book was creative, with myths and side stories that eventually all came together. Although the end didn’t knock my socks off, it was a fun read.
The third graphic novel in my kick was El Deafo, a true story about the author and her hardships with being deaf. The winning factor in this book was the drawings. She replaced herself and the others in her life with bunnies and it did well. Overall, though, the story was flat. I was expecting something like Smile, which if you haven’t read, will make this book better. Lastly, I found a used copy of Persepolis. I saw the movie years ago and wasn’t impressed, but the book is far better (like always.) Her autobiographical account of growing up in war-torn Iran is amazing and stifling. By the end, you can see why the author doesn’t belong in that country.
Besides graphic novels, I read the Booker Prize winner, Han Kang’s Vegetarian. It is shocking and unsettling in all the good ways. Most of all, it has you do the dirty work of figuring out what it means. I expect there to be many theories out there in the future to this slim, little gem. Next, I tackled another Asian classic, Snow Country. Being unbelievably subtle—like Japanese people tend to be—this book explores the relationship between a countryside geisha and a rich Tokyo man. Another tiny, fast read, but in the end, not as great. It felt like those ink bamboo drawings—a lot of blank space.
Finally, I read a book I’ve wanted to tackle for a long time: Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. I’ve read countless essays by this master and have always been astounded, but for some reason never got around to this book until now. There is a clear reason why it is a classic. The characters are dynamic and even though there are soap opera like ups and downs, in no way does that define the store. It is amazing. And lastly, I have complete the daunting task of reading Williams Gaddis’ Recognitions. This beast was huge and very quickly after starting you are hit with the theme of things not being what they should be. Many have compared it to Gides’ Counterfeiters not only in size but message, but here is where I feel most are wrong. Gide was using it to justify a new, different way of living—almost carpe diemesque, while Gaddis’ tome clearly points to how all humans struggle to find something real, something original. It was majestic.
Book Reviews Received
Meredith over @mezzalilysteenbookreviews gave my one and only Chewy review this month. It seems despite me trying to get the book out there, not only are the reviews momentum dying out, so am I. Meredith did an amazing review, nonetheless. Check it out, here.
Progress on 2016 goals
- Finish Chewy 5: Done!
- Read ‘The Recognitions’: Done!
- Compiling my Editing book: Sadly…still in the works.
- Finish my new unnamed work: Suddenly mid-month, I jumped into a new writing project. It is my new goal to finish it before the summer’s up. Right now, I’m about 30,000 words in and hope to be around 80,000 by September.
Next Month’s Agenda
I want to work hard on the new project while possibly tackling others. I will try to get one or two of my promised but yet unfinished indie book reviews posted. Otherwise, I’d have to say July will most likely be a replay of June. I started this blog over a year ago to promote Chewy, but have lost a lot of my gusto. I hope with a summer break it will come back.