Find Your True Fork by Jeff Krasno
Aim True by Kathryn Budig
Theft By Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) by David Sedaris (audible)
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
How To Be Both by Ali Smith
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (audible)
Considering the quality of work that I read in July you would think I would have TONS to say about all of these authors and their works... but mostly I just want to skip right ahead to The Handmaid's Tale, but I won't, I'll save the best for last.
So, here we go...
David Sedaris. What more needs to be said? The man is a comical genius, and he is just authentically himself. That's why we love him so much, right? He's just a gay, culotte wearing, adorable nerdy old man- which basically makes him the coolest person ever. I always like to "read" his books by downloading them off of audible. Mostly, because they are unabridged so I get every last delicious morsel, and they are read by him. Anyone who has seen him live knows that he has amazing comedic timing and tone. That said, I liked this book... it was fun to delve into the mind of one of our great contemporaries and hear what he was like before we all knew and loved him. But my favorite diary entries of all were the ones in the days following Sept 11, 2001. It was interesting to hear what an American living in Paris (who writes really well) was thinking and feeling in those days. If you can, I highly recommend anything Sedaris, I haven't read everything by him... but it's on my list.
Next... this year's Pulitzer Prize winner... The Underground Railroad (which I did own, but hadn't read before it won the Prize... I normally pride myself on having read them before they win. Shame.).
It was good. But it wasn't as good as The Goldfinch, or All The Light We Cannot See (previous winners that I feel are immaculate pieces of work). Maybe I expected so much from Colson Whitehead because by the time I finally read his work it was already an Oprah book and a Pulitzer Prize winner, which basically means it's a God in the book world. And in some ways it is, but maybe I've just read too much about the time period, the history is something I've delved so deeply into that it just couldn't be shocking to me anymore. But it is heartbreaking. It's always heartbreaking. One line that I loved so much was when he was talking about the slaves and how someone would say it was their birthday, even though they had no way of knowing, but it gave cause for celebration. And he talked of the cooking, the music and the dancing the slaves would do under the night sky.
The music stopped. The circle broke. Sometimes a slave will be lost in a brief eddy of liberation. In the sway of a sudden reverie among the furrows or while untangling the mysteries of an early morning dream. In the middle of a song on a warm Sunday night. Then it comes, always - the overseer's cry, the call to work, the shadow of the master, the reminder that she is only a human being for a tiny moment across the eternity of her servitude.
Lost in a brief eddy of liberation. BEAUTIFUL! Sometimes, I get chills at how an image can be painted in our minds just by a few words strung together. What an art!
Next up... is Ali Smith. I've never read her before.... and turns out she has quite the cult following. She's Scottish and apparently everything she writes turns to gold. All sorts of her books, including How To Be Both have been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. This book was interesting. Apparently there are two different editions and depending on which one you buy your first and second parts can be flip-flopped. An artsy effect. I wonder what my thoughts on the story would have been had I read the part that I read second, first instead? Basically, the first section I read was about a girl whose mother has died, and she keeps remembering a summer they went to Italy to see a painting. She remembers all sorts of little lessons her mom was teaching her. The writing in this section was beautiful to me. The second section (in my book) was about the girl who painted the painting that the girl and her mom went to go see. So, this character's mom died when she was young and so her dad told her to start dressing and looking like a boy so that she could get the artist's education that she wanted. So she did. And along the way she makes love to many of women. And she has a male companion who when he finds out she is a woman, wishes he'd known because he'd always been in love with her but constrained himself because he thought she was a man.
It was interesting and gave me a lot to think about as far as who we love goes. I really want to read more of this author's work. I saw recently that her latest book, Autumn, has just been long listed for the Man Booker Prize (*Note: The Underground Railroad has also been long listed for the Man Booker Prize this year).
And finally..... The Handmaid's Tale, I'm so ashamed that I've never read this before. But I have to say, sometimes timing truly is divine... and I don't know if I would love this book as much as I do if I had read it in another time period. I also have to state, that as of right now I have not watched the Emmy nominated hit on Hulu, but I hope to real soon. I don't really want to give anything away for this book, but all I can say is if you are a literate and liberal woman than you should read this book now. Don't read anything else until you read this book. And once you have... let me know... let's go talk about it over coffee somewhere! Go... now!
Ok- I know we are in the thick of Summer but the beginning of the school year is near! How are you winding down those last days of summer? Any good recs?