Wednesday, July 27, 2005

unimaginable zero summer by Leslie Stella

I found this one on the "books for school" table at Joseph Beth Booksellers along side classic summer books for students. To use the borrowed word, it is unimaginable to me what teacher would be requiring this book for what course, but I liked it a lot. The main character is a thirty-something named Verity who is getting ready to attend her high school reunion. The book is darkly comic and full of characters that I think I knew in high school too. I stayed up most of the night during a thunderstorm finishing this one.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Gonzalez and Daughter Trucking Company by Maria Amparo Escando

Chosen for the subtitle, A Road Novel with Literary License, this book was a fun summer read. Libertad Gonzalez is in a women's prison in Mexico where she leads a Library Club for other inmates. She entertains the others by pretending to read from books in the prison library, but she is really just unravelling the story of her own life with her trucker dad.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

This book was a gift from my dear friend Anne Flectcher who we stayed with in San Jose. I have never really read any of Hornby's others. This is the story of four people from distinctly different walks of life who meet on the rooftop on New Year's Eve. They have decided to commit suicide by jumping off of the roof, but the decide to work together to get through a few more weeks instead. It is quirky, darkly humorous and British.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill by Mark Bittner

I found this book at the historic City Lights bookstore in San Francisco and then later that day walked down Greenwich Street from Coit Tower - the very street where Bittner lived as he was observing these wild parrots. The book caught my eye because it has an emblem on the cover See the Movie, Read the Book. Although I had not heard of either before that day, I found the movie playing in a theatre in Haight Ashbury the next day and really wish I had taken the time out of our trip to see it. It seems the only was I can see the film in Cleveland is one day only at the Cleveland Cinematique at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Bittner's tale is full of detailed (almost too much so) descriptions of every parrot that he named and watched. But I loved the connections to Gary Snyder and the zen of being at one with nature. I finished the book on the red eye home from the trip. It is my summer California book

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck

I read Travels with Charley on the plane to San Francisco as we travelled to Steinbeck country. I had never read this delightful book before and I enjoyed reading Steinbeck's perspectives about people and locales. Then I visited the Steinbeck museum and saw Rocinante, the truck, and was able to visualize the whole journey. It was a sweet read.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell

A funny ipod listen. Sarah Vowell is a hoot. This is a travelogue about a trip to visit site connected with Presidential assassinations. Her political commentary and witty humor make her an author I would like to read more from.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

I read this novel way back when I was in high school and I remember loving it. Now I had to read it for my Steinbeck class this summer and I loved it once more. It is a classic investigation into the nature of good and evil. Steinbeck asks, "What is the world's story about" and answers with these lines, "Humans are caught – in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their net of good and evil. I think this is the only story we have and that it occurs on all levels of feeling and intelligence”. After I put this book down, I could not start another book for a few days. It was that great