23 June 2010

Summer Reads.

Since it's now officially summer, you probably think I'm spending oodles of time soaking up sun and reading some good books, right? HARDLY. I have somehow managed to work at least 40 hours a week for the past few, and let me tell you that my favorite summer pastime has been almost entirely neglected, except for the one book I read on my last trip to New Mexico..

I was happy to have an unexpected day off today, though (if you don't count working the dinner shift at the restaurant), during which I hit the beaches and finished my current read.
Two down....a LOT to go.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky

At the risk of sounding cliche, I am just going to break down and say that this book seriously spoke to my soul. I felt so connected to the character of Charlie, our hero, who writes anonymous letters to an anonymous friend during his first year of high school. Charlie is an observer...a wallflower. And he made me realize that not wanting to join in all the time is actually okay. That being a wallflower is sometimes the best way to understand people.

Little Altars Everywhere
Rebecca Wells

I first read this book the summer I turned 15. I was on a southern-inspired-fiction binge (after reading Fried Green Tomatoes AND Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood), and simply could not get enough. I stumbled upon copies of Little Altars Everywhere and Divine Secrets during my last visit to my favorite used book store a week or so ago, and HAD to buy them both. Reading this book again was wonderful. Rebecca Wells crafts such rich characters, that you feel as though you really know them. I am so tempted to dive right into Divine Secrets again, but I think I'll make myself finish An American Tragedy first..

An American Tragedy
Theodore Dreiser

An American Tragedy is a somewhat tedious novel, but with a gripping story. It almost makes you wish that Dreiser had paid one last visit to his editor...(in my limited research of the title, I learned that this book was infamously labeled "the worst-written great novel in the world.")
At about 40 pages into Book Two (of Three), I find myself simultaneously bored and riveted by the story of Clyde Griffiths, the pleasure-seeking son of a street preacher, who dreams of a life of luxury, and will stop at nothing on his quest to join the upper-class.


So there are the two books I've actually read so far this summer, and the one that is still in the works. And here are some of the others I hope to tackle before the summer's out:

James Joyce

Fatland: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World
Greg Critser

On The Road
Jack Kerouac

A Certain Smile
Francoise Sagan

Autobiography of a Face
Lucy Grealy

Happy reading, happy summer.