I'm just gonna admit right now. A lot of these are for school. I have a class in which our only assignment is to read books and give presentations on them. It's exposing me to a lot of good writing. Along with these books for class, I was also able to pick up a book for fun. I had decided to read Drinking Coffee Elsewhere after entering a contest where ZZ Packer is the judge. I don't think anything will come of it, but the book is definitely worth a look. See more of my thoughts on it and other books below.
Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri
A collection of short stories centering around the Indian-American experience, Interpreter of Maladies is a real punch in the gut. The writing is methodical and neat, but each story ends up in a deep place, one that always leaves me with a good range of emotions. Favorite stories from the collection: "This Blessed House," "Sexy," "A Temporary Matter," "The Third and Final Continent," and "Interpreter of Maladies."
This is How You Lose Her, Junot Díaz
The book is another collection of short stories, many from the perspective of Díaz's favorite character Yunior. I love the dry sense of humor, how Diaz handles the surprisingly poignant moments, and each story jumps around in time. The best part about this collection? The voice. Some favorites from the collection: "The Pura Principle," "Inveirno," and "Miss Lora."
Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, ZZ Packer
A very compelling short story collection with an unusual range of subject matter. Packer tackles religion, race, coming of age, and other themes in these stories, all of which result in a quiet anger or ugliness that seems to be part of each character she writes about. Some favorites from this collection: "Every Tongue Shall Confess," "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere," and "Speaking in Tongues."
Loner, Teddy Wayne
I'm not sure how to feel about this one. The novel is a creepy look into the mind of a Harvard student obsessed with a fellow student. While we all think creepy thoughts at some point, the narrator David thinks and acts upon his stalker-ish tendencies for a cringeworthy tale. The writer's use of the second person throughout the novel is captivating, but it's hard to relate to the character. Maybe that's the point.
Fun Home, Allison Bechdel
I haven't read a graphic novel in a while, but this one was pretty great. It's a memoir in which Bechdel parallels her life with her father's, touching on issues of coming out, place, and education. I really enjoyed the way she incorporates literature and history in the book. The "graphic" was used in a lovely manner, although I am used to graphic novels reaching for subjects beyond reality. Definitely an interesting book to end the month.
What did you read this month? Have you read anything on this list? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!