June reading – what’s “on tap” for me this month

Seems like my month is kind of already mapped out for me, reading-wise. Let’s start with the “required reading”…

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The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

This is my personal book club’s selection for June. I actually read about the first 2/3rds of it yesterday. This means it has about 1/3 to go to redeem itself from its current “disappointing” status. I mean, all I keep thinking thus far in this book is, “My God, don’t these people have jobs?!” 🙂 it seems the narrator, Jake, spent about two and a half hours working at his typewriter in one chapter, but that’s it so far. If this book is indeed supposed to capture the “Lost Generation” of post-WW1, I can see why it’s called that. It seems the characters spend most of their time sitting in cafes, restaurants and nightclubs either hurting each others’ feelings or telling each other to go to Hell, or advising each other not to “be a fool” and getting “tight” (drunk).

Wampeters, Foma and Grandfalloons by Kurt Vonnegut

This is the June selection for the KVMLBC. It’s a collection of essays by Vonnegut (with the exception of one short work of fiction). I read the first six or seven of them on Saturday. Many are very good, but a couple didn’t capture my interest at all. It’s still Vonnegut, though, and his unique wit is always present. Thumbs up so far on this one.

The Warden by Anthony Trollope

This is the first book of The Barsetshire series by this prolific author of the 19th century. I read The Small House at Allington earlier this year and also the author’s autobiography. Both kindled an interest in me to read more by Trollope. I also have book two of the Barchester series, Barchester Towers, waiting in the wings as The Warden is a mere 284 pages.maybe I’ll get to both of them(?)

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

I was reading about this in the NY Times book section yesterday. Many may know that this series of books is being adapted by HBO and is soon to be aired. This first book is quite lengthy (about 800 pages in my ebook version), but sounded good so I downloaded and explored the first couple chapters last night. I think it will go fast, and my recent reading of the first two books of Peter Brett’s “Demon Cycle” has whetted my appetite a bit for works of this genre.

Hmm… what else is there? Well, there’ll be a few short stories of course, and I have a few unfinished books from prior months that I still need to knock out. It’s “summer” here though, and I tend to read less “when it’s nice outside” so it may be a challenge to get my standard dose of four or five books in this month. We’ll see..

What are YOU reading in June?

Sent from my iPad

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3 Comments

  1. Dale Barthauer said,

    June 7, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Jay,
    I have The Sun Also Rises on my list also. I read it when I was 15 and it changed my life! At least my reading life. It brought me out of science fiction and fantasy. I’ll have to see what it’s like now that I’m 45. But your review so far was like a kick in the gut 🙂

    Speaking of science fiction, another high school friend that I contacted through facebook suggested The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein. I’m reading it now and it’s rather enjoyable. After that I finish Paradise Lost which I’m finding surprisingly good.

    Then I’ve changed course for the summer and am going to read The Hunger Games series and The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo series. In addition to our book club selections. They seemed like good summer reading. After the summer I’ll think about getting back into more “serious” stuff.

    Dale

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    • Jay said,

      June 9, 2011 at 7:14 am

      Hi Dale,

      Didn’t mean to tread on one of your favorites there. 🙂 I still have about 35 pages to go in The Sun Also Rises. I like the writing very much, and I guess it does capture a certain feeling of “listlessness” or “lack of direction” in the characters – maybe this is what The Lost Generation knew and felt. I struggle to identify with it myself, however.

      While reading, I was reminded somewhat of my initial reactions to On the Road, where I had a hard time identifying with the characters too, but it has since become one of my favorites and even been re-read by me a couple times. Maybe it just takes longer for things to “sink in” with me…

      You’ll enjoy the Hunger Games series and probably the Stieg Larsson books as well. Heinlein was a favorite of my Dad’s, but I’ve never read him myself. I’ve started A Game of Thrones now, and it has the same “problem” many such works have for me. There’s so much back story that needs to be explained and set up, including a whole imaginary world/kingdom that the reader feels he must learn. I think I will stick with it, though, and once I really get into it I’ll like it (I’m only on page 55 now…)

      -Jay

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      • Dale Barthauer said,

        June 9, 2011 at 9:40 am

        No problem, Jay! I would much rather hear your honest opinion. It’s funny, but I thought about On the Road, also, when I read your first post. I was trying to figure out what might be different about the characters in On the Road versus the ones in TSAR. The age of the characters could have something to do with it. OTR seems exciting even if the characters are somewhat midguided. It is easy to think of TSAR characters as being more “pathetic”. I don’t think there is a huge difference in age between the people in the two books, but I believe OTR had slightly younger people in it.

        I think what originally caught me when I read TSAR when I was 15 was it was the first book I read where I actually noticed the writing style (which at the time was amazing to me, maybe still is) as opposed to simply the plot.

        But I did find the characters interesting- whether it was “because of” or “in spite of” their listlessness and lack of purpose, I’m not sure.

        I was at Half Price Books yesterday and one of the books they were giving big money for was The Game of Thrones.

        Like


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