Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Summer Reading

Don’t you love it when all the books you read are awesome? That’s the book-zone I’ve been in lately. Maybe it has something to do with being a teacher and being on summer vacation. As a teacher, this is the first year I’ve taken the entire summer off. I haven’t worked any odd-jobs and haven’t been embroiled in any personal projects (well a little of that, but not much). In other words, I’ve gone on vacation, slept late, ate well, and read. So here’s a brief round up. In keeping with a summer vacation state of mind, a couple of sentences at most. I mean why struggle over whole paragraphs when school’s not in session?

Queenpin by Megan Abbott. I was raving about her second novel, The Song Is You several weeks back. Her latest is Queenpin and it ups the ante in a huge way. Bristling with lust and crime, it’s the dirtiest, sexiest noir I've read since The Postman Always Rings Twice. Check it out immediately.

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay. This was an impulse purchase in the airport in Sydney, found in the “Australiana” section. Read it on the plane ride home. Mysterious disappearances at a girls boarding school in the Outback. Formal, studied, creepy. Loved it. I’ve never seen the movie, but I hear it’s good.

Native Tongue by Carl Hiaasen. Love Carl Hiaasen. Can’t believe I haven’t written about him yet on this blog. Former Miami crime reporter turned novelist. Biting social critiques of the Miami politico and real estate world. Forever bemoaning the loss of his beloved Everglades to ruthless real estate developers in bed with state and county politicians. In a sense all his books are kind of the same, but they all ring strong with grand satire. If you like Terry Southern, you have to read Hiaasen. Native Tongue involves a 70 year old grandma, extremist environmental activist, some bumbling, two-bit burglars and a corrupt theme park. Skink, the rogue former ex-governor living in the Glades surviving on road kill, gets involved as well.

Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer. A great, if not creepy read. A young idealist tries to survive in the wild and things don’t work out to well. I loved the idealism but still found Alexander Supertramp unsympathetic and it all made me sad. The movie, which I just watched is great and makes Supertramp a lot more sympathetic than in the book. Though I imagine people’s reactions to Supertramp in the book really range. Curious as to what other’s thought.

Man In the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick. Got 20 PK Dick novels on the shelf, yet somehow have never read this one, considered one of his best. As always, he rules. What if the Nazis and Japanese won the war? Filled with sadness, longing, religion, spirituality, and the importance of artistic expression. Isn’t there a British film from the 60s with the same premise? I know there is. Name escapes me.

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