So, I’ve been a little negligent keeping up with this. Things got nuts with the end of camp and then I went on vacation. In fact, I’ve been back in the US less than 24 hours at this point. But I have been reading. And buying!
So, what I’ve read since I last posted. I downloaded Mr. Popper’s Penguins because I remember it being very popular when I worked at Notre Dame and I hadn’t ever read it. It won a Newbery Award in 1939. I have no intention of seeing the Jim Carrey movie, but the movie reminded me that I’ve been wanting to read this. It was a fun book about what happens when someone unexpectedly gets a pet penguin…and then gets another.
Also when I worked at Notre Dame one of the students there had recommended I read a book called Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. I loved it and she became one of my favorite authors. So, when I saw she had a new book coming out, State of Wonder, I put myself on the waiting list for it at the library. I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I was up late the night before I had a big race, because I just HAD to finish it.
At the same time, I’ve been listening to some fun stuff. I listened to Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe. I had read an excerpt from this a few months ago in Vanity Fair. It interested me becauses The Outsiders was one of my favorite books and movies when I was in grade school. The book was interesting, but a little long-winded.
When I finished that, I went back to listening to a novel called If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster. She normally writes non-fiction: short essays about her life. I like reading her stuff because she’s about my age, so a lot of the things she references I get. Especially, she is a big John Hughes fan. And this book is about a young writer (who writes YA novels about Amish teenage zombies) who, with her husband, buys the house where Jake Ryan, from Sixteen Candles, lived. If you’ve ever seen the old movie The Money Pit, it’s a lot like that.
I didn’t listen to anything last week while I was away. But this morning, I had to go grocery shopping, so I downloaded Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. It’s the first book in a trilogy about what happens when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to earth. So far I really like it. We have it in the library and I’ll definitely be pushing it on some of you in the fall.
While I may not have been listening to books while I was away, I was reading a few. Back in November, I bought a NookColor. So, rather than carrying a bunch of books with me, I loaded a bunch on there to keep me occupied. The first book I read was Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg. I love Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz and I watch Run, Fat Boy, Run before every marathon or half marathon I run. I haven’t seen Paul yet, but I’d like to. The book was really interesting. He talks a lot about how he got into acting and writing and how a lot of it come down to his great love of movies like Star Wars (in fact, there’s some really interesting analysis of Star Wars and why the three prequels are so bad).
I had also downloaded Bill Moyers Journal. This is a collection of interviews Bill Moyers did with various famous people. The nice thing about the book is that each interview stands on its own, so I could skip around. In particular, I wanted to read his interviews with Jon Stewart and Michael Pollan. Very interesting stuff.
We had an eight hour flight home, which is about how long it took me to read The True Story of Hansel and Gretel. This may be my favorite book that I’ve read all summer. It sets Hansel and Gretel in Poland during World War II, when the Nazis were occupying the country. The author came up with a great way to incorporate all of the things that are so much a part of that fairy tale: the trail of crumbs, “eating” the witch’s house and throwing the children in an oven.
As you may have seen, Borders is going out of business, so I’ve been taking advantage of their discounts and getting some new stuff for the library. I picked up a novel called Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. She’s a really interesting author (see this YouTube video she did for another book of hers, Going Bovine…also available at Hill Top). This book is about a bunch of teenage beauty queens who crash on a deserted island. Think Lord of the Flies or Lost with teen beauty queens. So far, it’s really funny. Don’t be put off by the “beauty queen” aspect, this isn’t “chick lit.”
I think that’s it for now. There’s still two and a half more weeks to go and I have some really fun stuff lined up.
(While writing this, I’ve been watching Jon Stewart episodes on DVR and found a new book to add to my list: The Long Run by Matt Long…he’s a firefighter who was literally hit by a bus while riding his bike to work and has come back to be an elite athlete. Can’t wait to read this one!!)