September Reviews

September is my least favorite month of the year, so I'm pretty happy it's over. I did read a few great books this month, so let's get to it:

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
333 pages
This is the true account of a Syrian man named Abdulrahman Zeitoun who, as the back of the book puts it, is "caught between America's two biggest policy disasters: the war on terror and the response to Hurricane Katrina." Zeitoun is a hard-working man who owns and runs a painting business in New Orleans, which his wife Kathy helps manage, when she's not caring for their children. When Katrina hits his family leaves for safety and he decides to remain in order to watch over their home and business assets. He begins helping those in need until he finds himself arrested and held in poor conditions. Eggers follows his story and examines the justice season of the city during this time period

Verdict: Zeitoun has had a ton of legal troubles in regards to spousal abuse since this book was written, which I didn't know when I read it. I'm actually glad; I really, really enjoyed this book and I think it may have tarnished my interpretation a bit. Despite the fact that he might be a huge douche now, his story during this point of his life was fascinating. 

Macbeth by William Shakespeare
191 pages
This was a reread for work. "Double, double" and all that jazz. Macbeth wants power, Lady Macbeth manipulates him, murders are committed, hand-washing after the fact occurs, and so on and so forth. We know the story.

Verdict: Like I explained to some of my students today, it took my a long time to understand Shakespeare, let alone appreciate him. I'm not likely to read his plays for fun, but out of the many that I have read this one is near the top.

San Miguel by TC Boyle
367 pages
Boyle writes this story centered around the island of San Miguel in three parts. The first is about Marantha Waters, who moves to the small island off California in 1888 to hopefully help with her TB. Living in such a secluded area in pretty primitive conditions is tough for her, as is her role as a sheep-farmer's wife. It is also difficult for her adopted daughter, Edith, who also struggles with the confinement and also, eventually, her step father. The story then jumps a few decades into the future when a new family moves out there and slowly gains some fame for their way of life. 

Verdict: This isn't the best Boyle book I've read; I found the third part's presence weakly connected to what he had spent several hundred pages building up. I did enjoy the characters and the internal and external struggles they had to cope with to survive. The setting was also pretty unique and I appreciate his apparent fascination with the Channel Islands, since he wrote about them in another one of his novels. 

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
226 pages
I probably would have listened to this, but it came with the ticket to her event that I attended the other night. Kaling writes essays about everything from BJ Novak to her typical daily schedule to a made up email exchange that would have occurred if she had decided to teach high school Latin.

Verdict: It was entertaining, quick, and fun, just like I expected. It wasn't anything deep or, on the opposite side of the spectrum, juicy, but I still left wanting to be her friend. I probably most appreciated her unabashed love for McDonalds. I'm a closet nugget fiend, myself, but I limit my trips through the golden arches hell to once every other month or so, though. She's a daily kind of gal, which is pretty impressive. 

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson 
247 pages
This Nobel Prize winner is about fathers and sons and life and religion. John Ames is writing to his young son as he faces his own mortality. He recounts stories from his own childhood, his father's life, and his relationship with both wives. 

Verdict: I have to admit it- I thought this book was painfully boring. Yes, I know, the beauty of an ordinary life, but yawn! Robinson is an amazing writer, she really is. Her prose are fluid, simple, and melodic. But my God. It was really hard for me to get through. 

1,364 pages

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