Saturday, August 10, 2013

Summer Reading 2013

Men and Feminism by Shira Tarrant
This is part of the SEAL Studies collection on contemporary feminist and LGBTQ. This book provides a short introduction into whether or not men can be feminists (yes), masculinity: nature or nurture (both, probably, but mostly nurture), and ways men can get involved in feminist organizations and the movement(s) in general. Is a nice read that I could see assigning as a text for an introduction to women’s studies class, but is by no means the definitive text on the subject of men and feminism (which is perfectly okay, because that’s all the text sets out to be). The book is easy to read and is written in a laid-back, humorous style. May 2013.

Husbands by Brad Bell and Jane Espenson
This is a graphic novel tie-in to the online sitcom of the same name ( I have only seen a few episodes of the show, but love the show’s creator and author of this book, Jane Espenson, whose writing credits include Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood. The graphic novel follows a newly accidently married couple Brady and Cheeks who fall into a number of misadventures. The book takes a hilarious romp through genres including sci-fi, superhero, medieval fantasy, and Archie-esque high school pop comic. The characterization is a little lacking, but the graphics and humor make up for any lacks elsewhere. I also imagine that the graphic novel plays off of the show’s characterization, and as such, relies on what has already been established on screen. A fun and light read, nonetheless. June 2013.

Chocolat: A Novel by Joanne Harris
I have wanted to read this novel for quite some time. I simply adored the film based on the novel, as it had a refreshingly strong-willed heroine who overcomes the central plot issue without the help of a man. The film and book I think have been dismissed by many to be simply a romancey chic-flic. The novel did not disappoint and lived up to my expectations; however, I will say that the way the resolution to the domestic violence relationship subplot played out in the novel was less realistic (and potentially more dangerous) then in the film. The book had delicious descriptions of chocolate that made me crave it for hours after I would finish reading for a day. The book was light and fun, a pleasant summer read. June 2013.

Tickets for a Prayer Wheel by Annie Dillard
Annie Dillard’s first of only two collections of poetry. Her nonfiction writing is so poetic that I was curious to see how her poetry would fare. The collection wrestles with God, the natural world, and human nature, themes found in many of her works. This collection was published in the same year as her first nonfiction work, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and yet her poetic voice tackles similar themes in a very different light.  Even so, a handful of the poems in this volume feel a little forced, as if she was still trying to find her voice. July 2013.

The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life) by Chris Hardwick
Chris Hardwick is a comedian, creator of the podcast The Nerdist, and has been hosting television shows all over the place now days. His foray into self-help literature is interesting, to say the least. First, the book is definitely a cheesy self-help book, full of advice and false hopes (if you just keep trying, you’ll make it someday!). Beyond that, the book does have practical advice drawn from Hardwick’s experiences as a recovering alcoholic, down-and-out broke actor, and nerd to his eventual success as a comedian and producer of various nerdy entertainment outlets. The book tackles things like panic attacks, recovery from addiction, and how to get in shape with practical steps and humorous illustrations, told in Hardwick’s comedic voice. At some points, though, his humor does get a little sexist, which I found frustrating. All that said, it’s decent for a self-help book, and perhaps a nice summer reading distraction from the heat. July 2013.

Currently Reading
Under the Dome: A Novel by Stephen King
At Home in Mitford (Number 1 in the Mitford Years series) by Jan Karon
Mornings Like This: Found Poems by Annie Dillard

Up Next
When I was a Child I Read Books: Essays by Marilynne Robinson
Apocalypse Now and Then: A Feminist Guide to the End of the World by Catherine Keller


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