Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Books I Read in October: 2011

I was excited about the new Fall TV season, but I've already given up on so many shows. Sigh. I really don't care about anything new except Up All Night. I've also started watching The Walking Dead. I love to imagine the actors who play zombies being all actorly about their craft: "I love working with Shane. He's a very, very generous actor and never wastes bullets." "I inhabit my character completely. It's what I do. I can't not pull out veins and gobble them up." "People probably think it's easy to stumble around moaning and staring and hungering for human flesh and to be completely honest with you--it is easy--but it's surreal, too."

I have demoted a few shows to "watch while reading" status. After that it's just a few clicks away from "Cancel Season Pass." That's life.

So I read 4 books last month. For those of you keeping track, that's 61 books this year. Here's how I read so much: I'm really, really smart. (Unlike a zombie! FACIAL BURN.) Just kidding. I'm not that smart. But I do make time for reading by having very few friends, hobbies, or interests. It is, obviously, a trade off. 

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

This is a pleasant and well-written book about a family with three sisters and all the weirdness between them. It's good. Not great, but good (in my estimation). And they're obsessed with Shakespeare, which is fun but something you might hate in real life.

Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

I LOVE post-rehab Rob Lowe. He knows everyone and has led a surprisingly interesting life. This is a very entertaining book. I think Rob Lowe seems like a great guy--still married, kind of funny, thoughtful father,  lit-rally one of the nicest guys I know.

Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese

This is such a cool cookbook. It tells you what is worth making from scratch and what you should just go ahead and buy. It's written by our beloved Tipsy Baker and when I say "written," I do mean that she writes the heck out of this book which I read cover to cover. It's interspersed with essays and descriptions of food and mishaps and obsessive chicken and goat acquisition. Hailing from an LDS, northern-Utahn grandmother, Jennifer Reese proves that there is a Mormon mommy blogger in all of us.

See further proof here:

Oh Brandon! Get a Mormon Mommy blog already, would you?

And I just finished A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.

This is a clever book. It's smart and well-written and compelling despite it's R-rated nature which is usually a turn-off for me. I don't necessarily recommend it because its depiction of the human condition is just a little bleak for my taste. I don't love this book, but I admire it. It's interesting and modern--it's more modern than post-modern. It's post-post-modern. One whole chapter is a PowerPoint presentation which is super meta. Cool. The book is a series of stories about different people, all somewhat linked, which revolve around youth culture and the music industry.  There's a lot of depravity in it which I don't tolerate well--it gets me down. But it's remarkable in its way.

Plus, Jennifer Egan beat Franzen for the Pulitzer with this book! I hate that guy so, HOLLA.


  1. Anonymous8:39 PM

    Wanted to comment on Up All Night, Frazen and the most recent New York Times Mag but am too intimidated by being the first. schlects. (as word verification would say.)

  2. Just wanted to say thanks for your book review posts.
    One of them led me to read The Book Thief -- I will forever be grateful. Markus Zusack is a language wizard. That book is so hauntingly beautiful on so many levels.

    Anyway, thanks.

    Also, your blog is the reason I only own, wash, and heavily bleach white bath towels. Good housekeeping tip. Feel free to keep those coming, too.

  3. You don't like "Once Upon a Time"? I've been liking it. I was excited for Terra Nova; I kept thinking it was going to be like Jurassic Park and Lost got married and had a show baby...but it is dull.

  4. My friend just wrote me an email yesterday in which she mentioned Make the Bread, Buy the Butter. I hadn't heard of it before (I kind of live in a cave) and now I am intrigued.

  5. Franzen. Blech. I got about halfway into Freedom, and was like, yuck, and not even well-written yuck. I feel like he's a case of the emporer's new clothes. Got the same feeling from the Pulitzer-winning A Confederacy of Dunces. I'm afraid to try David Foster Wallace cuz people compare him to Franzen.

  6. I like Up All Night. Maya Rudolph is funny. I like how earnest Will Arnett is, not like his usual characters.

    Don't see how the concept will last longer than a season, but that's OK!

  7. It might surprise you how often I think about you saying that actors always use the word surreal to describe their work.

  8. I am interested to know why you don't like Franzen. I don't either, but I wonder if it is for the same reasons.

  9. Actors love the words "surreal," "introspective," "craft," and "generous."

  10. rob Lowe was my nickname in high school.

  11. Anonymous9:50 PM

    Thanks for this. I might try The Weird Sisters. I'm making a list of books I want to read in 2012,

  12. I read Goon Squad. I liked it. The Powerpoint chapter killed me in the best possible way.

    I re-read Peace Like a River. I love that book so hard.

    And my husband laughs until he cries at Up All Night.

  13. What was with that power point presentation? I found that extremely strange, and frankly a bit distracting.
    Plus, I felt like I needed an excel document just to keep track of everyone. I kept having to go back and figure out who was who so I could connect the dots.

  14. Anonymous2:35 PM

    Watch "New Girl" on FOX w/ Zooey Deschanel. It seems like something you would really like!



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