Thursday, September 22, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
My friend Alix, who writes/draws graphic novels, got me interested in them. (Many of my friends had tried to get me interested in them before, to no avail.) We’ve gotten a few in the library, but this one, Habibi by Craig Thompson, is really amazing and beautiful. Part love story, part religious explication, part history lesson, its rich, winding story is matched by complex illustrations. The content is sometimes a little “mature” so be forewarned. You can check it out next week… when I’m done with it.
Monday, April 25, 2011
The Dante Club
I decided to read The Dante Club because it was summer reading for 9th Grade English and I wanted to know what 9th graders were reading. Although I’ve read many of the books that the English Department assigns, this book wasn’t on my radar. I picked it up thinking it would be an easy pop-culture mystery along the lines of The Da Vinci Code. I was wrong. First of all, it’s kind of hard. I mean, it’s not really hard, but it’s definitely not Dan Brown easy. Second, it’s kind of gross. There are murders in the book and they’re described in graphic detail that is hard to get out of your head once you read it. Third, the characterization is really well-done. In many of these silly murder-mystery type novels, the characters are one-dimensional. You know what they look like, a few of their likes and dislikes, and a little of their personality. Matthew Pearl’s central characters, who are all based on real people (like Longfellow, Holmes, and Lowell— poets), are meaty. Although the characters might not be exactly like their real-life counterparts, they feel like real people. For instance:
In coaxing Longfellow to speak of himself in any capacity, one was required to cloak interest in a neutral topic, such as cigars.
Don’t you know people like that? Some people can talk about their feelings, and with some people you’ll talk for an hour about baseball but come out sensing that you’ve had a really intimate discussion with them. Seeing these pointed vignette characterizations in a book that I assumed would be a silly little mystery novel has changed my mind about the book.
Moreover, The Dante Club has made me want to read Dante. You can read Longfellow’s translation of the Divine Comedy for free online or even download it to your Kindle!
Monday, April 4, 2011
I finished People of the Book.
It took a lot longer than I thought. It’s an interesting read. I think it was appropriate that I finished it over Passover because it’s about an ancient haggadah. Anyway, it’s back in the library if you want to check it out (call # F Bro). I have to find some good books to read while I’m proctoring AP exams.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Thursday, March 31, 2011
I finished Looking for Alaska (all the library’s copies of this are out right now— sorry!— it is really good) and now I’m reading The People of the Book by Gwendolyn Brooks (of which the library has only one copy, but I should be done with it soon). “The People of the Book” is apparently a term in Islam used to denote the other major religions that are book-based and recognize the same God, i.e. Christianity and Judaism. According to Islam, even though these other religions aren’t spot-on, they should be treated with respect and tolerance because they’re “people of the [same] book” as Islam.
Anyway, so far the book isn’t about that. It’s about a literal book. It’s in-depth descriptions of old illuminated manuscripts (like the one pictured here). It’s like The Da Vinci Code meets The Librarian (those t.v. movies). The writing is not that great but the plot is kind of interesting.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
No woman should ever lie about another woman! You’ve violated the sacred covenant between women! How will stabbing one another in the back help women to rise above patriarchal oppression?
Alaska in Looking for Alaska
So I’m reading this book. It seemed like required reading. So far it’s really good. In searching for an image to post here, I found lots of artwork related to Looking for Alaska, but I chose this picture to remind you not to write in library books. Anyway, I was surprised to see what a cult following the book has.
looking for alaska