June Reviews

If it hadn't been for summer school taking over my life I definitely would have read more than four books during my first month of summer vacation. All I've got:

Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard
272 pages 
I already went of this book in a Non-Fiction Nagging post, but to quickly sum it up it's about Yvon Chouinard's development of Patagonia, an outdoor gear and clothing company. He talks about the trials and tribulations of trying to start a business from nothing and maintaining an approach that values both the customers and the employees. Read more here.

Verdict: Being a fan of Chouinard's environmental work and business outlook I really enjoyed it; I can, though, see how some people may be bored by it.

The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina Bronsky 
304 pages
I can't believe this book hasn't gotten more buzz than it has- smart, hysterical, and often a bit random. Rosa, a middle-aged Soviet woman, is horrified when her disappointment of a daughter ends up pregnant. Rosa desperately tries to bring about an abortion, but her daughter remains pregnant. Rosa ends up falling in love with her granddaughter and dedicates her life to it, despite the fact that her daughter spends some time keeping the two apart. Rosa eventually tries to marry her daughter off to a rich German, in order to ensure their immigration to a more reputable country. Below the humor and outrageous characters is the simple story of family and the connections mothers, daughters, and granddaughters have with each other.

Verdict: This was definitely the best book of the month. It's a really quick read that I think most people will appreciate.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
336 pages
I actually already wrote a post about this book as well. In this memoir Cheryl Strayed writes about how hiking the Pacific Crest Trail alone helped bring about perspective and clarity after years of spiraling out of control. While I could have done without her constant mentioning of the condom she kept with her (and then disappeared) or the out of place comments about self-pleasure, the hiking component was incredibly interesting. Read more here.

Verdict: I think this book is one that you have to just ignore the flaws for in order to get to the real meat. It was a bit rough around the edges, but I'm thinking a girl who is able to hike 100 days alone may be too.

Luminous Airplanes by Paul LaFarge
256 pages
I was quite disappointed in this book, as well as in the online component. The premise has been done many, many times before- adult male returns home after a family death in order to sort out what remains while encountering ghosts from the past. That's not to say it shouldn't be done again- it should just bring something new to the table. The ending is flawed and rushed, and the writing isn't anything special. The hypertext component confused the hell out of me- there is supposedly additional content on the site, but I had a hard time getting through the original text of the book to get to it. Eventually I reminded myself I'd hate reading on the screen anyway and gave up.

Verdict: Pass. 

July will definitely be revenge month. Game on.

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