Books on Books -- July to September Reading Update

How on earth has it been since July 13 that I shared my latest round of books? Here's what I managed to read for the rest of the summer/beginning of fall. 

First up was Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. I had seen a trailer for the movie adaption and was curious about the book. The book was hilarious and very meta at times. The main character, Greg, was believable and his consciousness about writing this story was an added bonus and different from previous summer reads.   

Quote: "Earl has no money allocated for that purpose" (136), Greg speaking for his friend Earl after their teacher suggests going to a restaurant the teacher is particularly fond of. 

Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See had been on my "to read" list for months. After much procrastinating, I just sat down and read the whole thing. It was incredible, focusing on World War II and two overlapping stories. I love a good non-linear timeline and Doerr delivered. Definitely a book I could not put down, no matter how late it was. 

Quote: "Don't you miss the world?"/He is quiet; so is she. Both ride spirals of memory.  

I first heard Tracy K. Smith on Anna Sale's Death, Sex, and Money podcast. She had talked about her memoir, Ordinary Light & how it focused on her mother's battle with cancer. Naturally, I picked it up. It was different than I expected; a childhood memoir with a focus on mother. My notebook is full of great quotes from this book. Just another reminder that we're not alone in our stories. 

Quote: "...I think it also had to do with wanting to preempt the look on anyone's face -- a mix of condolence and abject pity, as if they just learned I grew up a foundling -- that arose whenever I said, 'My mother was diagnosed with cancer'" (235)

After being not as impressed with Eleanor and Park, I was told that Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl was a better pick. They were right and it was another book I just sort of rolled through without stopping. It centers around Cath, a college freshman trying to figure out her life. She writes a lot of fan fiction and faces a challenge as her writing professor tries to push her beyond writing about Simon Snow. I definitely enjoyed the parts where they talked about writing; you know that always fires me up.  

Quote: "I pick my life apart that way, try to understand it better by writing straight through it." (307) 

I heard Sarah Hepola speak on NPR about her memoir and I immediately put it on hold. Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget definitely goes down easy. It's fascinating in the ways which it tells a story that Hepola doesn't entirely know. Since I'm taking a class on memory, I thought a lot about the credibility of the memoir, since Hepola often had to ask others to fill in the blanks during her blackout periods. Definitely a memoir you should pick up. 

Quote: "We all want to believe our pain is singular -- that no one else has felt this way -- but our pain is ordinary, which is both a blessing and a curse." (229).  

My most recent read was Alison Bechdel's Fun Home. I heard about it through my memory class as we talked about recent and well known memoirs. This one is a graphic novel and similar to Tracy K Smith's, this one centers around Bechdel's relationship with a parent -- her father. It took me no time at all to read this book, and it served well to read while I started my first couple of weeks of grad school (aka I could walk around campus reading it). 

Quote: "What if Icarus hadn't hurtled into the sea? What if he'd inherited his father's inventive bent? What might he have wrought?/He did hurtle into the sea, of course" (231-232) 

Now that's an update. I still have a pile of books to read, so we will see how balancing grad school work and reading for fun turn out.