books for the month of July

For the past month, I have been electing to watch very little TV. Instead, I have been reading. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it’s summer – usually I read a lot in July and August because I don’t have schoolwork to do and I’ll be camping or just sitting in the yard with a good book. Well, this summer that’s not entirely true, as I’ve been working on my thesis six days a week (and sometimes even seven). Yet I managed to read 11 books (well, twelve if you count the one I finished this morning, which technically I can’t since it’s August 1st today). Here they are:

1. Mister Posterior and the Genius Child, by Emily Jenkins  
This is one of those really honest books that break my heart.What I got from it is that things aren’t always what they seem, and that understanding someone else – or their actions – isn’t as forthright as it seems. I enjoyed reading it, but I don’t think I’ll reread it.          
2. The Young Unicorns – Madeleine L’Engle
L’Engle is one of my favorite children’s books authors, because she writes books that are good for all ages. This isn’t her best one, but it’s good: she can write well, plus she offers up some interesting thoughts on free will – in this case the freedom to make bad choices.

3. Foreskin’s Lament – Shalom Auslander
4. Good as Gold – Joseph Heller
5. Portnoy’s Complaint – Philip Roth

These three were for my thesis. Writing about them now would make me scream. Go google them if you want to read them.

6. Thursday Next, first among sequels – Jasper Fforde
Thursday Next is an expert detective – a literary one. She makes sure that everything happens as it should in Bookworld. This was hilarious – I loved the fact that the bad guys were clones of Mrs. Danvers, that Pride and Prejudice turned into a reality elimination show, and that the English government is suffering from a stupidity surplus. Go read it.

7. The Jesus I Never Knew – Philip Yancy
I don’t know about this one. I read it because a lot of people said I should. It was valid, addressing a lot of concerns I know people have, but it didn’t really do anything for me. Mainly because in his plea for a different kind of Jesus, Yancy draws on a lot of stereotypes people have of Jesus, stereotypes I don’t have as much because I didn’t grow up in church. Also, he makes all his claims from a belief in the Bible as inerrant – a belief I don’t share, not really, so that his claims didn’t ring true. There was a lot of "the Bible is true because it says in the Bible that it’s true" logic in there. But a worthwhile book if you’re stuck with the Shepard-y, peaceful, lovey-dovey type of Jesus and want to get rid of it.

8. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
I read this in my Jane Austen phase, following Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It was good, although I had expected it to end a little differently, so I guess Jane Austen managed to surprise me there! Also, where do these people get the idea from that they’re poor? Seriously, if you don’t have to work, and your idea of being poor means you only have two servants, and can’t go to town for the winter, you do not classify as being below the poverty line. Their world is just so different from today’s, it sometimes seems irrelevant to still be reading this kind of stuff.
Incidentally, there’s now a Sense and Sensibility and Seabeasts…which I’m kind of expecting to be disappointed by. What I liked so much about Zombies was the novelty of it, I expect that making it into a formula will dull it down a bit.

9. The Homecoming – Harold Pinter
Weird. Very weird. And I have a high tolerance for the absurd.

10. The Year of LIving Biblically – AJ Jacobs
I love this book. It’s funny, and insightful, and honest. I love how he ties himself in knots by trying to interpret the Bible literally, and how he proves that we all pick and chose out of necessity.

11. Then we came to the end – Joshua Ferris
I bought this for a friend, but then changed my mind. I’m glad I did – it’s a nice book, but I don’t think she would have particularly liked it. It’s about office life, and starts out funny, but later becomes tragicomedy. I don’t think it’ll stay with me long, except for a lingering feeling that I’m glad I’m not to start a real job yet.

Well, now you know what I’ve been doing for the past month. Stay tuned for more exciting adventures in the life of me.


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