Monday, September 28, 2015

Selected Reads: August 2015

It's totally still September. I'm doing fine! I mean, I'm not, it has been eighteen days since my last confession (blog post) and that is a long ass time, but if I start bringing guilt into this I will become mired down in a hopeless morass and never blog again! Maybe. I have read 13 books so far in September so August feels like a distant dream but let me dredge the memory banks.
  • Women - Chloe Caldwell: Women exploring their sense of self and their sexuality forever! I found this novella of a destructive love affair with an older woman rather insubstantial but I enjoyed Caldwell's clarity and I will continue to endorse this genre indefinitely.
  • Sex Criminals, Vol. 1 - Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky: As an internet dweller with access to many recommendations, I have decided that comics are going to be a key gift for R going forward. He is gently enthusiastic about comics but lacks the time/energy to work out what to read next, I pick up suggestions without effort but lack sufficient interest to follow through; together we shall make a quiet, low key team, slowly buying and reading the best of the comic landscape 2-5 years after original publication. I bought him Volumes 1 of Sex Criminals and Saga for his birthday and he thought I should try the former. I enjoyed the very silly premise (of two people who can stop time when they orgasm and who use this gift to attempt to rob a bank) but failed to connect with the form. It is still early days in my exploration of the comic media but I have yet to really get it. I'm sure that I will continue to road-test R's presents but if you have any comic recommendations for non-comic readers do let me know.
  • My Horizontal Life - Chelsea Handler: I am becoming something of a connoisseur of comedienne memoirs. Not that I care for the term 'comedienne' but 'lady comics' seems equally clumsy. I have never seen the American comedian/talk-show host/whathaveyou Chelsea Handler in action but I knew who she was when I stumbled across her first memoir/essay collection at the library and fancied something light. And, credit where it is due, Handler knows how to tell an anecdote and she has an apparently endless array of juicy stories that the 'good girl' comics can only dream of. These raucous adventures are often pretty funny but are also surprisingly mean. The casual cruelty and all-out alcoholism of many of her stories sometimes caught me off guard and it is interesting to consider how much the landscape has changed in the last eight years. This feels like a relic of the Sex and the City era now - fun but alien.
  • The Turner House - Angela Flournoy: This book is, more or less, everything I wanted The Twelve Tribes of Hattie to be. This is another story of a massive black family in a run down American city, Detroit this time, but the structure here allows you to actually get to know some of the characters. By focussing on the children who have stayed in Detroit and their decision about what to do with their family home once their mother can no longer live in it, you can have an evolving relationship with a handful of the offspring. Cha-Cha may be haunted by a haint, Lelah is secretly homeless and struggling with a gambling addiction and Troy is a cop who doesn't think that the law applies to him. The novel is concerned with white flight and redlining and the recession as well as family and race and mental health but it wears all of its 'issues' lightly and is primarily a great book with great writing.

1 comment:

  1. Yes yes YES to the graphic novel - this makes me so happy. Just because I feel like it's so under appreciated as real literature (which it of course is)