Sunday, July 12, 2009

Procrastination I

One purpose of this blog is to record every book I've read and every movie I've seen since its beginning. And right now I'm behind by a lot. So this is part one of a couple of catch-up posts. Or possibly more than a couple.

Reading:

"The Depressed Person" and "Good People" and "Wiggle Room" by David Foster Wallace. Jon and I have wanted to read DFW's famous novel Infinite Jest for a long time, but it is really long. (What an excellent title, though, don't you think?) Then a friend of mine suggested "The Depressed Person", complete with link, so I felt compelled to read it. It was (surprise!) depressing, but worth reading. It was nicely balanced by the transcript of a commencement address by DFW, also recommended by my friend. It's a great speech with insights that are potentially life-altering. (And since it has apparently been recently published in some book somewhere, it's possible that link won't work forever, so here's one that is an adaption of the speech.) Then I read "Good People" and "Wiggle Room" and really liked them. DFW was a dang good writer. Still haven't tackled the big novel, but someday. If you're interested in just one, I'd suggest the commencement address or "Good People," unless you're particularly interested in self-centered depressed people.

"A Report for an Academy" by Franz Kafka. I read this in German when I was in college and thought I'd revisit it in English these many years later. Still good.

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. This novel was published years after the suicide of the author, and it won a Pulitzer Prize. It's very funny and has great characterization of both people and the city of New Orleans. Jon and I both liked it a lot.

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz. I enjoyed this funny and engaging novel. It's definitely light reading, but not the kind where I had to ignore bad writing or shallow characterization.

Slumming by Kristen D. Randle. I was surprised by this young adult novel. The subject turned out to be pretty heavy, though not at all graphic. The author and the main characters are LDS (part of the surprise for me), but that's a minor detail in a compelling story.

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