What I’ve been reading lately…

I haven’t done a reading post in a little bit – things like racism, the patriarchy and Hank Williams, Jr got in the way, but even though I haven’t commented on any books lately, I’ve been reading a lot of things at once. I hate reading more than one book at a time, but I commute to work and sometimes I’ll forget my book either at home or at work and pick up my “spare” book and as a result I’ve got loads of books I am in the middle of reading now, and I have to get through them.

Suck It, Wonder Woman! The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek by Olivia Munn. Munn is the gorgeous, supermodel-looking self-proclaimed geek who’s made a name for herself by appealing to the Star Trek/Ren faire loving folks by her open enthusiasm for all things nerdy. To be honest, because I’m not the target audience for Munn’s “work” I never heard of her until her controversial hiring as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Her slim comic credentials raised the ire of a lot of female comics who were trying to win a spot on the coveted show, and some felt that the hiring of a Playboy covergirl was unfair and sexist. The caused a minor stir among some online feminists. I picked up Munn’s book because I caught her on The Daily Show and thought she was funny. I then sought out articles about her and found her to be humorous and intelligent. Her book isn’t fantastic, but it isn’t terrible – it’s very “throw-away” which is one of the reasons it took me forever to get through it. Some of the writing captures wonderfully the ridiculous cartoon-world that Hollywood’s become, and then at other times, some of her stories seem like random tangents thrown in to fill up space in between the interesting bits.

The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor – I love Flannery O’Connor and I can just read these stories repeatedly. She’s got a very dark sense of humor – my favorite story, and probably her most famous is “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” which is about a family travelling through Georgia and they run into a serial killer – and hilarity ensues! She’s got a great eye for detail and period and she’s uncomprimising in creating stories with really ugly, but relatable characters. I can’t recommend her work highly enough.

Party Crashing: How the Hip-Hop Generation Declared Political Independence by Keli Goff – anyone who has read my blog lately knows that Goff has become one of my new favorite writers – I read about her political satire GQ Candidate and was interested in seeing if she wrote any nonfiction books, and found this title on www.amazon.com. I’ve started going through it, reading chapters out of sync – her chapter on gay rights is interesting especially since she’s written some great things about the divide among the gay community and the black community that was especially highlighted in the Prop 8 votes, which some found to be disproportionately represented by black votes. She’s a pretty funny writer, too even though a lot of the topics she take on are serious.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home – by Joss Whedon, Georges Jeanty. I’m a fan of the TV show (my partner’s a bigger fan), and when it ended after 7 seasons, I felt that there could still be more told about the Scooby Gang  – apparently, so did the show’s creator, Whedon, and the eight season was serialized as a comic book (or graphic novel as some nerds will tersely correct you). Because the TV show was limited by budget, there were constraints on what could be done with the characters. Well, print frees up the writers to do a lot – and they take advantage of that by having the characters spread all across the world; some of the characters live on different dimensional planes; and others have taken on mystical or magical qualities, like for example, Buffy’s whiny little sister Dawn is now a giant. While some of the spark and charm of the show is missing when reading the graphic novel – a huge part of the show’s success was the performances of the cast members – the writing is still sharp. The one-liners are a little more static because they’re not performed with the quippiness. The art is amazing.

Dining with the Duchess: making Everyday Meals a Special Occasion – by Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. This is an odd-ball choice, I know, but I’m on Weight Watchers and the Duchess of York, or “Fergie” was the company’s spokesperson for a number of years. I’m trying to figure out how to make meals that don’t eat up a huge amount of points – these recipes looked good and I’m a fan of Fergie’s, despite her picaresque life. The recipes are very easy to follow – I already adapted the squash soup the other day. Her personal asides are also pretty interesting.

I got a bunch of Gladys Mitchell novels, too – her Mrs. Bradley mysteries, because I enjoyed the BBC series so much (see my post reviewing it). I haven’t gotten a chance to read them. I also picked up Charles Schultz’ Peanuts: A Golden Celebration: The Art and the Story of the World’s Best-Loved Comic Strip  but didn’t get a chance to read it – aside from looking over a few panels.

Most of these I got through amazon, but I did pick up a couple at Myopic Books, in Bucktown. It’s a great bookseller, with decent-to-great prices on their books. A fun fact – we thought that because of the iron bars the building used to be a bank, but the friendly cashier told us it used to be a stable.


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