Wednesday, July 31, 2013

30 in 30 Challenge Update #1

I’m now knee-deep in the 30 in 30 challenge and I definitely feel like I have my work cut out for me. Even just reading short books and graphic novels, I find myself scheduling extra reading time every day.
Here are the books I read during the first week and some “microreviews.”
  1. French Milk by Lucy Knisley (graphic memoir)
    Knisley is a talented cartoonist, but this memoir of a trip to Paris with her mother is a bit drab and repetitive. It seemed like I read about what she ate for dinner on every other page with snippets of visits to art museums in between. I would have liked to read more of Lucy’s thoughts and feelings rather than a log of meals and museums.
  2. The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler (nonfiction, drama)
    Eve Ensler based these vignettes on hundreds of interviews that she conducted with women all over the world. These monologues with the “Vagina Facts” sprinkled throughout make for enlightening reading.
  3. So the Wind Won’t Blow it All Away by Richard Brautigan (fiction)
    Brautigan’s narrator looks back on a childhood accident that shaped the rest of his life in this short novel. Set in the post-WWII 1940s, So the Wind Won’t Blow it All Away is mostly sad, but like all Brautigan’s novels, immensely readable and unique.
  4. The Little Prince by Antoine de St. Exupery (Children’s fiction)
    The classic children’s book depicts the Little Prince’s visit to Earth and several other small, strange planets. The Prince’s naivety and joie de vivre make him a perfect candidate to explain the real reasons that we live and learn.
  5. A Coney Island of the Mind by Lawrence Ferlinghetti (poetry)
    A brilliant collection and my first introduction to Ferlinghetti. My favorite poems in A Coney Island of the Mind were in the middle section, “Oral Messages.” These were written for jazz accompaniment and are reminiscent of today’s slam poets.
  6. Saga Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan (graphic novel)
    A stunning introduction to Brian K. Vaughan’s newest graphic series, Saga is the story of Marko and Alana, star-crossed lovers from opposite sides of an inter-galactic war. Saga is worth reading just for Fiona Staples’s stunning art, but it’s worth sticking around for Vaughan’s character development, narrative voice, and complex storytelling.
  7. Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue (short stories)
    In Kissing the Witch, Emma Donoghue presents thirteen retellings of classic fairy tales. Sometimes it’s immediately obvious what source material Donoghue draws from, other times the reinterpretation is subtle. Either way, these are delicate and heart-wrenching tales that draw the reader into a world of magic, love, and loss.


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