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one thing at a time

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(no subject) [Jun. 29th, 2015|07:58 am]
one thing at a time
Began and abandoned: Brick Lane, adult fiction by Monica Ali, and another whose name I forget, both for gratuitous death of beloved child, once at the one-third mark, once on page four.

Why We Broke Up, young-adult fiction by Daniel Handler. In which the smart kids quote old movies and the football player has never met a smart girl before. She's, like, interested in stuff. It's readable, in its way, but it's so, so old.

Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood, nonfiction for adults by Karen Maezen Miller. She makes a style and a voice out of the insistence that her experience is universal; she's wrong in ways both trivial and fundamental, and she doesn't seem to care.

Lost Memory of Skin, adult fiction by Russell Banks. The Stephen King gold star for characters who live and breathe; if there's a meaning here, I'm not sure I like it, but I'm also not sure I need one.

The Tightrope Walkers, marketed as young-adult fiction, by David Almond, but there is absolutely nothing that constitutes this text as appropriate for young adults, either in content or in perspective, excepting possibly the inexplicably happy ending. As a novel, in its own right, it's not half bad.
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(no subject) [Jun. 14th, 2015|08:37 am]
one thing at a time
My Struggle, adult fiction by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated by Don Bartlett, and it was one. (He puts the water in the pot. Then he turns on the stove. Then, when the water boils, he puts the rice in. And so on.)

The Clothes They Stood Up In, adult fiction by Alan Bennett, library selected for small size. Too sad to be funny, for me, anyway.

Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer, by Steven Millhauser. The first 90% was for me pleasant and enjoyable and also encouraging, in its endorsement of the way I would like to write stories, the validity of that mode of prose. In the last 10% he rises off that path into the pure dark magic of Little Kingdoms, and I stop taking notes and just read.
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(no subject) [Jun. 4th, 2015|11:35 am]
one thing at a time
Sacred Hunger, adult fiction by Barry Unsworth, reread.

Sweet Sleep: Nighttime and Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family, from the La Leche League. Extraordinarily useful, partly for specific strategies but mostly for mindset and attitude support.

The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night, by Elizabeth Pantley. Somewhat less useful, but charming and reassuring and warm, worth reading if only for nudges-and-tips approach.
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(no subject) [May. 12th, 2015|12:48 pm]
one thing at a time
Parable of the Sower, adult fiction by Octavia Butler.

Voices in the Night, short stories for adults by Steven Millhauser, gift from Catharine. The first and second stories are marvelous; but in collection, their formula becomes apparent, and then tedious, and then ridiculous. The last story breaks from it and is worth reading.

Tell, adult fiction by Frances Itani, who doesn't even bother to plug in the variables.
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(no subject) [May. 1st, 2015|09:49 am]
one thing at a time
The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves, adult nonfiction by Siri Hustvedt, but I kind of wish I hadn't, because we're reading her novel, and it's good, and this is the sort of annoying term paper that diminishes the text it's meant to deconstruct.

Completed, short story Jacqueline, and short story Life's Work, and miscellany.
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(no subject) [Apr. 26th, 2015|07:57 pm]
one thing at a time
Torch, adult fiction by Cheryl Strayed.

Fortunate Son, adult fiction by Walter Mosely.

Migratory Animals, adult fiction by Mary Helen Specht, featuring an eerily familiar "Marsh University" for Texan nerds, architects, and engineers.
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(no subject) [Apr. 18th, 2015|08:19 am]
one thing at a time
We Are Not Ourselves, adult fiction by Matthew Thomas. Ten out of ten for enjoyable noveliness but the plot comes at the expense of the characters. If a woman had written it, we'd call it chick lit, not the Next American Novel.

My Brilliant Friend, adult fiction by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein. Accurately titled per membership in the Separate Peace/ Deliverance/ Fight Club/ Gatsby family.

A Visit from the Goon Squad, adult fiction by Jennifer Egan, reread.

Begun but then set aside as ill-suited for current reading conditions, The Salt Eaters, adult fiction by Toni Cade Bambara.

How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, adult fiction by Charles Yu. Mostly wonderful, twenty to forty percent doing too much.

Tiny Beautiful Things, adult memoir in the form of advice column by Cheryl Strayed, if she's your thing.
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(no subject) [Mar. 25th, 2015|07:01 am]
one thing at a time
In Wilderness, adult fiction by Diane Thomas. Beautifully written but we can't trust her.

The Discreet Hero, adult fiction by Mario Vargas Llosa, translated by Edith Grossman. 
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(no subject) [Mar. 22nd, 2015|06:02 am]
one thing at a time
Joy in the Morning, adult-ish fiction by Betty Smith.

I'm A Stranger Here Myself, short essays by Bill Bryson.

The Wild Palms, adult fiction by William Faulkner, picked up in a used bookstore with this cover. On the back: "Good Reading for the Millions." 
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(no subject) [Mar. 8th, 2015|04:25 pm]
one thing at a time
Where The Line Bleeds, adult fiction by Jesmyn Ward.

All The Light We Cannot See, adult fiction by Anthony Doerr. A sort of Stephen King inverse, in which the characters we come to love are declared narratively invincible; mostly makes for a deeply satisfying, properly novelly experience but degenerates toward the end as a result.

The White Boy Shuffle, adult fiction by Paul Beatty. I will need to read it two or three more times and possibly teach it in order to get some sort of handle on it; the only text I can think to set alongside it at the moment is Portnoy's Complaint, and I'm probably wrong about that too. 
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