The OF Blog: September 22-30 reads and October plans

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September 22-30 reads and October plans

Fairly slow reading week, as I'm still working on wrapping up this unit on the Gilded Age. Fall Break can't get here soon enough!

309 Elizabeth Bear, Hell and Earth - Good, solid complement to Ink and Steel. Bear's prose is unobtrusive, which aids in developing a fast-moving plot with Kit Marley and Will Shakespeare's character interactions deepening in an appropriate fashion. Pleasant, light read that makes me curious to see how Bear will develop this time-spanning urban fantasy series.

310 Margo Lanagan, Tender Morsels - I hope to write a full review of this in the next couple of weeks. Suffice to say, I loved this novel and will have lots more to say later.

311 Theodora Goss, In the Forest of Forgetting - Excellent 2006 short story collection. Goss mixes real-world scenes and issues with more fantastical characters and plot developments to create a surrealistic bent to many of her stories. Her prose is outstanding and there were very few near-misses; no true duds and many excellent stories.

312 Jonathan Carroll, The Ghost in Love - If you've read one Carroll novel... Seriously, this was a well-executed novel with some interesting characters, but there were times that Carroll's thematic motifs, as well as some of his characterization, felt as though he were recycling elements from earlier novels. I liked it, but because of this sense of deja vu, it just felt a bit flat, like reading reheated leftovers.

Currently reading:

Jorge Ramos, La otra cara de América
- I first read this book by Univisión's lead anchor back in 2004 and these short stories of Latinos, both native-born and immigrant alike, has provided lots of food for thought. I just used this in one of my classes yesterday to illustrate how nativist attitudes from the late 19th century are alive and well today.

Thomas M. Disch, The Wall of America - Posthumous short story collection coming out in November. Only have read the first story, "The White Man," and if that story is any indication, this might be the type of short story collection that I enjoy - witty, moving, and full of social commentary without ever straying towards that "preachy" territory that certain people despise.

Mark Schultz, The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA - OK, this January 2009 graphic novel release has made me curious to see how genetics can be explained in a graphic novel format. So far, I can see how this would be use in many high school classrooms, even if there are some in my native region that would be offended that God isn't referenced here...

October Plans:

Hopefully, I'll finish the above-mentioned books before the weekend, then I hope to get some long-delayed reviews up and running. With more luck than I've had the past four months, I might have a half-dozen reviews, some of them shorter than my norm, posted on a wide variety of books, including some that I'm reading at intervals for my professional background reading. After all, teaching doesn't end when that last bell rings these days...


Mihai A. said...

Larry, I just came back from the Postal office where I picked up my latest order from Amazon. So "Camp Concentration" arrived just in time. I'm definitely in for the Book Club :)

Lsrry said...

Cool! Looking forward to seeing how you and others interpret Disch's book. His short story collection is excellent so far :D

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