Sunday, August 19, 2007

Summer Reading

Like others of my blogospheric demographic, I enjoy a good book now and again. Contrary to all expectations, that's what I did with my weekend home alone. Here's what I've been reading.

1. "Broken Lullaby" by Laurel Pace

A searing depiction of life in 1973 Cambodia, as seen through the eyes of a reluctant Green Beret. A fictional love affair between an amateur genealogist and a handsome art dealer, recounted in a diary found with the soldier after his death, becomes an analogy for Southeast Asia's increasingly complicated relationship with the West. While its brutal descriptions of the horrors of war make it not for the squeamish, it is has taken its place among antiwar classics like "All Quiet on the Western Front" and "Johnny Got His Gun."

2. "Soul Harvest" by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

This frank novel about a young hermaphrodite's search for acceptance scandalized the nation when it first appeared. When Jesse first realizes how different s/he is from others at their small-town high school, s/he turns to heroin and anonymous sex in an effort to blot out the pain. Ultimately, s/he is befriended by a local imam who brings Jesse to an understanding of the importance of individuality even on Sinclair Lewis's Main Street. Harrowing but ultimately uplifting.

3. "The Wiggles: Yummy, Yummy: Fruit Salad" by Grosset & Dunlap, Inc.

Often compared to "Catcher in the Rye" and "The Outsiders," this fictionalized autobiography explores what it means to grow up on the mean streets of a Brazilian favela. Poverty and violence mark the life of the young people of Wiggletown. Just as there is no escape for them, readers of this landmark book will never forget the despair of its protagonist.

4. "The Breakthrough Reptile and Amphibian Taxidermy Manual" by Ken Edwards and various artists

A bawdy romance in the style of "Tom Jones," this story wonderfully captures the essence of 18th century Paris. Pierre and Marie fall in love, separate, and finally reunite, all against the backdrop of the coming French Revolution. The Oxford Press translation topped the bestseller lists, but the University of Chicago version is generally considered to be more true to the original.

5. "Moose on the Loose" by John Hassett

Set in a post-apocalyptic future, this novel examines the implications of a social structure broken down by the corrosive effects of unbridled materialism. As our anti-hero picks his way through the remains of the famed Las Vegas Strip, readers are confronted with difficult questions of redemption and betrayal. David Lynch recently optioned a screenplay based on this book with hopes of casting Robert Downey, Jr. in the lead role.


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I don't have much time, so I'm reading A History Of Republicans Without Hypocritical Sexual Squicks by Bob Kasten.

(note for non-Wisconsinites: Bob Kasten was a bitter,repressed drunken cross-dressing Republican who for a brief time occupied Russ Feingold's Senate seat)

Anonymous said...

"Eat your pond weeds and act like a moose!"

Snag said...

What is it with your Wisconsin politics? Kasten and Feingold, LaFollette and McCarthy. It's more schizophrenic than ours.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Jeff Dahmer and Ed Gein.

we're REAL consistent with cannibals. Culture of carnivores, ya know. You'd feel right at home here.

Adorable Girlfriend said...

AG just stayed home and smoked a bowl or too.


Do I have to set all the bad examples for y'all.