There are few things as important to the writing process as a good reading lineup. I’ve discussed before how I like to build reading lists, and I’ve even shared a few recommendations in the past. I find that I can learn more about a person from what they’re reading or have read recently than a conversation on other topics. But maybe I’m biased.
Anyway, in case you’re curious, here are a few books that I’ve read recently, am reading now, or will read this month. Judge me as you will.
Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel – Finished
I first thought about reading Station Eleven after it was announced as a National Book Award finalist; however, I didn’t actually pick it up until my book club elected to read it together. I’m glad I did. I did sometimes find the actual writing to be a little lacking (among other things, the author ran into problems with verb tense agreement). However, I will always praise this book for seamlessly melding the perspectives of a host of different characters. Also, it’s a fairly unique take on the dystopian future genre that’s saturating the book market right now.
New York City: A Short History, George J. Lankevich – Finished
Upon visiting New York City late last month, I was gripped with a powerful urge to understand this new place; I found what I was looking for in George Lankevich’s book. To be honest, I go through non-fiction phases (I’m in the middle of one now), and rarely seek it out unless I have the urge to learn a significant amount of information on a topic. The short history of New York, while compact, did give me this information. It starts from the city’s founding as an early Dutch settlement and continues on into the present age. While I can tell Mr. Lankevich has a few biases (he leans conservative), I appreciated his dry humor and sincere yet honest appreciation of this infamous city.
Let my People Go Surfing: The Education if a Reluctant Businessman, Yvon Chouinard – Stopped Reading
This book was recommended to me by a friend with an entrepreneurial spirit. While I’m not a burgeoning businessperson, I did appreciate the first section of this book, in which the author, Yvon Chouinard (founder and owner of Patagonia) discusses the birth of his company. It was interesting and made me appreciate the guts it takes to stand out in the world of sporting equipment. That being said, I didn’t see much benefit in reading the later chapters, which focused on Yvon’s business philosophies–I’m really not interested in business. I’m glad I read the parts that I did, though.
For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway – In Progress
I’ve owned this book for the better part of a decade, and this is first time I’ve actually decided to read it. A part of me is glad; it’s a renowned piece of American Literature. A part of me is also groaning; I have a distinct love-hate relationship with Hemingway going back to the first time I read The Sun Also Rises. I do appreciate the man’s simple prose, but sometimes I think he’s a little too obsessed with ideals of masculinity. In any case, I’m enjoying the few chapters I’ve read so far, and am doing my best to keep an open mind. There’s a reason this is part of literary canon, right?
Prophecy, Ellen Oh – Next Up
I’ve been wanting to read this book for at least a year. It showed up on my Tumblr dash and I was intrigued by the cover, featuring a single red jewel over a churning blue background. According to the back summary, Prophecy is about a girl named Kira who serves as the body-guard to a prince. There’s political and demonic intrigue and all sorts of coming-of-age themes. Did I mention that this young adult fantasy book is based on ancient Korean lore and mythology? Yeah, I’m sold. I just have to buy it before I get distracted by my next book.
So, do you think you know more about me after getting a glimpse of my currents reads? What are your current reads? Do you find you reread more books than explore new books?
One response to “What I’m Reading – July”
I’ve switched over to nonfiction for a bit as well. I’m currently reading “Zero” by Charles Seife, about the history of the number zero. It’s pretty good so far.