March Reads

I talked a little bit about how disappointing my recent reading habits have been in a post earlier this week, so the fact that I've read four books after being off half a month is pretty pathetic. On the other hand, I'm so competitive with myself and goal-oriented that I'm pretty much guaranteed to have a much better reading month in April. I'm just going to put in out there now, but I'm hoping to come in at a solid eight books, doubling what I've done here

Before work I read Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, for hopefully the last time. Ever. We are switching the curriculum and it will no longer be included, so hopefully we're parting ways permanently. It's racist, it have some incredibly boring parts, and my students despise it.

I read two other novels, The Cactus League by Emily Nemens and The Power by Naomi Alderman. The Cactus League was about spring training and followed several characters, including players, executives, players' wives, etc... It had some really solid parts, but it also was a little slow in others. It was fine, but nothing amazing. The Power, on the other hand, was outstanding. It was our book club selection for our English Department book club, which we had via Zoom last night (it was such a breath of fresh air!). This feminist sci-fi novel looks at the world from the perspective of women being in control, once they realize they have this electric current power that they can harness to gain dominance over men. We had some really great discussions about authority, the use of the frame story (my one issue with the novel), and how men were represented. It was really outstanding in terms of characters and story. 

Finally, I read one memoir this month, Chuck Palahniuk's Consider This. I have read some of his older stuff, at one point finding his newer works subpar (but I haven't read some of his newer newer ones, so I can't speak to those), so I was interested in what he had to say. He spoke about his experiences as a writer, but also gave a lot of really helpful advise to those who are interested in writing fiction (I hesitantly raise my hand). He didn't come out and say it, but I felt like some of his more recent books were just sort of churned out to make money (he has always had money trouble, both from his own doing and from someone who worked for him embezzling). I have always had a soft spot for Palahniuk, as his was the first author event I ever went to, in college, when a course required attendance to a reading of our choice that quarter. Hundreds of us were smooshed into a Barnes and Noble in Santa Monica with no AC (turns out this was intentional) while we waited for him to read from Haunted, bringing severed plastic limbs as prizes (he talked about how he did this to stop people from wanting him to autograph their actual body parts for eventual tattoos). 

Hopefully when I return for April's reviews I'll have lots more to say and maybe we'll see some progress with, as my son calls it, "the sickness" in our country. Stay safe, stay healthy, and try to read as much as you can, friends. 

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