End of August Review
The break is over with. The semester has started…but I’m not sure what’s to come of it, yet. I hope something will pop up soon. Despite that malaise, I’ve been productive.
Books Read and/or Reviewed
Tossing myself into my current project, I didn’t do as much reading as I would have liked, but I got a bit done early on in the month, followed by a rush of graphic novels at the end, so all in all, I almost evened out to a normal month.
First off, I read the new Harry Potter, the claimed book 8 of the series. It was a fantastic, short read as it is in play form. I know this threw some off of it, but I’ve read many plays and I enjoy the lightness and speed of it. Though it was not as great as ‘the canon,’ it was enjoyable. Most of all, I think readers have to go in picturing it as a play to understand how fun it could be.
Secondly, I read the much-hyped ‘Hymn of a Tiger Mom.’ Living in Asia, it was interesting to see how she got reactions from other Americans. That being said, I agree with a lot of what she said, and above all, though some Americans think she’s too strict, the thing to take away from the book is that for every grueling hour she made her daughters practice on their respective instruments, she was right there beside them. You want good kids—put in the time.
Then there’s ‘The Stranger.’ This was a reread for my students, but I’d have to say I got much more out of it this time around than when I read it in university. This is probably due to not knowing much about existentialism or the absurd then, but I enjoyed it and was surprised at how well it stood up. Other books I’ve enjoyed haven’t always passed the test. Meursault is still an odd duck, but one very relatable—for me, at least.
Then, graphic novels. My wife read all of them as well and we concurred in which order these books should be ranked, the first being, ‘Anya’s Ghost.’ The thing we liked about it was a) there was story; and b) the drawings were unique and good. It’s dark and scary and has a Russian twist to it, so I think most readers would at least have fun with it. Next in line would be ‘That One Summer.’ Although both my wife and I agreed that the art here was the best—sometimes overwhelmingly good—ultimately the story was weak and very ‘what-you-expect’ from a young adult graphic novel. In other words, not much story, though I tried to explain to her that it was coming-of-age. Last, ‘Roller Girl’ was fun, colorful, and cute….but the story was nothing new. Friends fight, the protagonist finds new things to do, and we have something new to experience—here roller derby. Frankly, ‘Smile’ is a much better version of this book.
Last, I finally got my hands on a copy of Louis Sachar’s new book, ‘Fuzzy Mud.’ If you’re expecting a ‘Holes-like’ experience, you will be disappointed. First off, it’s a measly 180 pages or so. Second, the story isn’t nearly as complex or intricate. However, that being said, the book grabs you from the beginning and pulls you into it long enough that by the time it lags, you should only be about thirty pages or so from finishing. Not his best, but not his worst either.
Book Reviews Received
Another dead month, which only adds to the aforementioned malaise.
Progress on 2016 goals
- Finish Chewy 5: Done!
- Read ‘The Recognitions’: Done!
- Compiling my Editing book: TBA
- Finish ‘All the Things in the Unknown World’: This month has been my most productive yet. My first month I did a little shy of 25,000 words, which wowed me. Then I matched it with my second month, totaling at 50,000. But this month I dropped 40,000 words, coming up with 90,000 all in all. And…I still have a slight chapter to finish. With any luck, I’ll be complete by the end of next month and have another item crossed off.
Next Month’s Agenda
Finish task four. Complete more reading. I want to add a new, difficult book to the above list. And all in all, I want some gusto back when it comes to all of this.