I got a funny comment/compliment? from the local librarian a couple weeks ago. I went in to pick up a book I'd reserved and she said, "When I saw this come in, I knew it was for you. It just looked like something you would read." I laughed because that's the kind of backhanded compliment I get from my mom on my clothing choices. Apparently I have a style that is recognizable - don't know if that's good or bad!
Some recent reading treasures, online and in print:
- The Long Haul by Amanda Giracca - a facebook friend turned me onto this online magazine written entirely by women, travel writing/non-fiction that is fantastic. This particular essay is about a small town in the northeast, but I swear it could be Montana, too. Just a snippet to get you hooked: "The porch is so warped to hell, it looks as though it hasn’t been fixed up since Chief Konkapot signed away this land for three hundred pounds a few centuries ago, scrawling the only thing he could write: his signature turkey foot, a three-pronged symbol which stood for his real name, Pophnehonnuhwoh. Kissed the land around the river goodbye."
- Closed for the Season on A Restless Transplant - I totally dig this guy's photos and posts from the road and this post is mainly about the Sierra Nevadas. Makes me want to fill up my backpack and lace up my hiking boots and just walk on down the road. With a camera.
- Pere Goriot by Honore de Balzac - Keith calls this "the Ballsack book." I requested this book from the library on a whim after seeing it on a list some snooty guy said everyone should read (or something like that) and it sat on my night stand because it intimidated me and I was sure I wouldn't like it, maybe I should just return it. Then I cracked it and haven't looked back. I'm sure there's a lot of deeper social commentary about French life and politics that I'm not absorbing, but I'm just enjoying the story of a bunch of characters in a boarding house in Paris. The writing (well, translation) is compelling and so apparently there's good reason that it's referred to as Balzac's best.
- America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation by David R. Goldfield - I'm not too far into this massive door stop of a book yet, but so far it's very dense and informative and I think a good case for why I should be reading more non-fiction, there's just so many gaps in my knowledge about history and American history in particular.
- Prairy Earth by William Least Heat-Moon - Probably one of the best books I read in 2012 and of particular interest to me because it's about Keith's home state of Kansas. One particular county, in fact - very in depth, covering everything from the pre-settler history to archaeological records to gossip from the stores and diners and dreams about the place. If I was a writer, I would want to be like William Least Heat-Moon. (His other book I've read, Blue Highways, is in my top 5 books of all time.)
- The Morning News - I read this online at work mostly (hey, it's news) and there's always more interesting things contained in it than I have time to read (while still looking productive). One of my favorite writers from Sun Magazine, Sparrow, has been making some posts on TMN lately that are great.
- A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers - I'll pretty much read anything written by Dave Eggers but this was a stand-out for me this year. Completely foreign location, strangely modern plot, lovely tactile cover (bonus!) - I don't know, I just liked it.
- I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave on Mother Jones - Shopping an Amazon (with a Prime membership = free shipping all year) has been a bad habit I've indulged this past year and this insider look at what goes on behind the scenes is good reminder that cheap stuff almost always has a human price. Namely shitty working conditions for whoever facilitates us getting our stuff faster and cheaper than ever before. So before I click "Add to Cart" again on Amazon, I will remember what I read here.
- 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami - Hands down the best book I read in 2012. It's really hard to provide a synopsis for any of this books in less than 50 words, but it's about parallel universes, basically. The first book of his I read, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, got me hooked and Kafka on the Shore is another great one by him.