Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer Reads

Confession: I haven't finished a book in... well, let's say it's been more than a season or two. I just don't have the patience to stick to a novel and see it through to completion.

I'm most likely to read something that's easy to pick up and put down, as I tend to read in short fragments. Like while stuck in traffic... driving a car. Oops.

I bought this book at the Strand a few months back, for something ridiculous, like $5:


That's The Best American Non-Required Raading, 2007 edition. It's edited by Dave Eggers, and the selections are chosen by a group of high school students. No, the pieces aren't written by high schoolers, but chosen from literary quarterlies. As I was falling asleep last night, I happened to see that the cover was illustrated by Carson Ellis, aka wife of Colin Meloy from the Decemberists. She also did the artwork for a bunch of their albums. Like one of my faves, the Crane Wife:



The book has an introduction by Sufjan Stevens, wherein he reveals that he was illiterate until the third grade. What.

I haven't finished the book yet, I'm about a hundred pages in, but I was totally blown away by a comic by Alison Bechdel called A Happy Death. I'm not too familiar with the genre aside from the section that comes in the Sunday paper, but wow. This is nothing like that. This was, I'm assuming, a piece of creative non-fiction (one gripe about the book: it doesn't assign genres for each piece, and I'm too lazy to go searching).

Anyway, a comic that quotes Camus? Yes, please. The only other piece I've read I can compare this to is a comic by Harvey Pekar, about Harvey Pekar, for a class I took last semester. It, too, was wonderful.

Here's the TOC for the book (taken from teh Wikipedia... too lazy to type) -- I can't wait to get to the pieces by Miranda July and Conan O'Brien.

Work/Source/Author
"Middle-American Gothic" Spin (magazine) Jonatham Ames
"A Happy Death" Fun Home Alison Bechdel
"Ghost Children" Creative Nonfiction D. Winston Brown
"Rock the Junta" Mother Jones Scott Carrier
"American" New Orleans Review Joshua Clark
"What is your dangerous idea?" Edge Foundation Edge Foundation
"Selling the General" Five Chapters Jennifer Egan
"Where I Slept" Tin House Stephen Elliott
"Loteria" Indiana Review Kevin A. Gonzales
"How to Tell Stories to Children" Zoetrope Miranda July
"Adina, Astrid, Chipewee, Jasmine" The New Yorker Matthew Klam
"All Aboard the Bloated Boat" Barrelhouse Lee Klein
"Love and Honora and Pity and Pride...." Zoetrope Nam Le
"Darfur Diaries" Jen Marlowe, Aisha Bain & Adam Shapiro
"The Big Suck" Virginia Quarterly Review David J. Morris
"Stuyvesant High School Commencement Speech" Conan O'Brien
"Humpies" Agni Online Mattox Roesch
"So Long, Anyway" Epoch Patrick Somerville
"Literature Unnatured" American Short Fiction Joy Williams

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