Things to Read - On the Bookshelf (July 2015)

Painted in Waterlogue

Unfortunately, this month's books did not waterlogue well (that's the app I use to turn a photo into a painting). So you might have to read below to learn the actual titles. My favorites are starred.

*** 1. Displacement - I blogged about this wonderful graphic novel a few weeks ago (click here for my review). An honest look at taking care of the elderly.

2. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing - I spent three months on the library waiting list for this book. Yet when it finally arrived, I never bothered to read more than three pages. I guess I'm not really ready to tidy up. Or I'm too lazy. Oh well, I'm already back on the library waiting list, maybe this time I'll actually read the book.

***3. The Wallcreeper - I first learned about Nell Zink, a few weeks ago from a New Yorker article about Zink's "improbable literary fame", which made me REALLY want to read this novel. I didn't like the main characters (or any of the characters for that matter), their decisions are odd and selfish (so. so. selfish), but if you can get past such things, Zink's sentences are wonderful to read. For example, "The next time we had coffee, she said she had been a Slavic languages major at an international program in Krakow and abandoned her studies when the first baby came. That was about nine months after Hermann's band played Krakow. She barely remembered him, but she looked him up online. She hadn't planned to drop out, but it was absolutely impossible to be an adequate mother and have a life, she said. She didn't resent her children. She said they were every bit as interesting as verbs."

***4. Station Eleven
- READ THIS BOOK!! After I read Cormac McCarthy's The Road, I swore off apocalyptic fiction, as I tend to worry enough without throwing the end of the world into the mix. But so many people loved Station Eleven that I decided to give it a try. And I loved this book. Deeply deeply loved. Because it's hopeful. And it shows how things get lost and found again (sort of like Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia). And it made me believe that even in the most horrible of situations, there will be happiness too.

5. Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs - I think almost all mom photographers are a little enamored with Sally Mann (how could you not be?) and the beautiful, haunting, controversial images she made of her children. So I wanted to love Mann's memoir. And I didn't hate it. But I had previously read the memoir's best chapter in the New York Times excerpt. Hold Still focuses less on Mann's own life than on her family tree. And, while her ancestors proved interesting in their own right, there were points when I felt like, "why am I reading about Mann's great grandfather again? Don't I have other things to do with my time?"

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