Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Monthy Reading Wrap-Up: August 2015

It feels like forever since I did a monthly reading wrap-up . . . probably because it has been a mule's age since I wrote a post about my most recent reads. In any event, I thought I would briefly discuss my August reading habits and what I managed to finish last month.  

In August I officially started teaching at my new school site.  After almost a decade teaching at the high school level, I am now working with a precocious group of seventh graders who have been keeping me on my toes . . . let's say I have had a learning curve, shall we?  My new job involves a longer commute and, on days I take public transportation to work and am not grading papers on the go, I am able to get a solid two hours of reading in.  

However, by the time I get home from work, I am either swamped with papers to grade or I am too bleary eyed to hold up a book let alone read one.  So, as you can well imagine, I didn't manage to read nearly as many books as I had hoped.  August's total was a disappointing, but not unimpressive five books.  

Here is what I read:

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell [GoodReads Rating: 4/5]
I began this book on audiobook only to find that the audio version is abridged, cutting out the last chapter and a half from the book.  Perfectionist that I am, I checked out a copy of the book from the library and finished the book properly.  In simple terms, the book is about the odd tourist industry that has grown out of the three pre-Kennedy presidential assassinations-- Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley-- and Vowell's trips around necrocentric America.  If you are a fan of David Sedaris, you will probably enjoy Vowell's work. 

The Book for People Who Do Too Much by Bradley Trevor Greive [GoodReads Rating 4/5]
My mother recommended this coffee table book about stress and taking care of yourself to me.  There is nothing revolutionary to be found in this book and it certainly isn't the place to go if you are looking for answers to life's greatest problems; however, if you're bummed out and photos of beleaguered animals makes you smile (as it does me), then this one is worth a read.

If you Feel Too Much: Thoughts on Things Found and Lost and Hoped For by Jamie Tworkowski [GoodReads Rating: 3/5]
Tworkowski is the fellow behind "To Write Love on Her Arms," a non-profit dedicated to suicide prevention and support to individuals struggling with depression and addiction.  The organization has gotten a lot of time from segments of the music industry and from various grades of celebrity (mostly B- level).  The essays in this collection were originally published on Tworkowski's blog and tie into his work building and growing the organization and supporting people in need.  At points the book is a bit too name-dropper-y and Tworkowski's aversion to capitalizing first-person singular pronouns grates on the nerves.  Had I read this collection when I was fifteen instead of thirty-two, I am sure I would have felt "understood" after reading this book instead of feeling slightly annoyed.

Underground by Haruki Murakami [GoodReads Rating: 4/5]
Yup, the monthly Murakami.  I plan on writing a longer review in the coming week, so I will reserve my comments for that post.  Suffice it to say, I found the book an emotionally challenging read, but a good one.  

Audition by Ryu Murakami [GoodReads Rating 1/5]
Again, I plan on writing a longer review of this book, probably as part of a longer post on the work of Ryu Murakami so I will save my comments for then.  As you can see by my rating, I didn't like the book.  No, no.  I LOATHED the book.  Watch this space for more seething!

Those were all of my August reads.  What did you read last month?  Let me know in the comments below.  

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