Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Book a Month in 2010!

I love New Year's resolutions. They're like makeovers. They're irresistible.
"I am going to make a sweeping change that will drastically improve ______". This year, I would like to drastically improve my brain.
Pregnancy rendered me incapable of completing a thought. Mommyhood has me speaking Parentese more than English - and I teach English as a second language for a living.

So, this year, I will read a new book a month. Books I've read in the past can't be re-read, but other works by previously read authors are acceptable.

I started with The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell.

This is technically my buffer book, since I started it in December and finished it in very early January. (Yes, buffer books are allowed, I'm not going to set myself up for failure.) I live in a house divided over fiction and non-fiction. This was my husband's book that I picked up while nursing and I couldn't put it down.

It is a fascinating look at what causes trends, epidemics, and other large scale changes in our world. The book is written in a very accessible style and Gladwell illustrates his point with intriguing real world examples, like the story of Sesame Street's success or how STDs spread through cities.
Even though I finished it a month ago, I find myself still thinking about it. Which, with so many grabs for my attention these days, I find that a high compliment.

The official selection for January was The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon. I picked it because it was on an endcap near the cash register at B&N and I read a couple of pages while waiting to check out. (Clearly, my book choices are well researched. Does reading a book just because it's there make me a book slut? I digress.)

This is Chabon's first novel. On the cover, someone makes a bold statement comparing it to The Catcher in the Rye. Ordinarily, such claims would cause me to roll my eyes and move on, but I'd already read a few pages, and you know, it was...there. And, I've read two other Chabon books and enjoyed them thoroughly so I figured I'd overlook the Catcher in the Rye thing and give it a shot.

I'm glad I did. The writing is beautiful. It's the kind of writing you want to lose a Saturday to. Unfortunately, I never got to do that, but I did finish before the end of January.

It's an unique coming of age story that I didn't identify at all with. Our protagonist is a recent college grad, circa the late 80's. He's staring down some huge coming of age questions, such as, "How do I reconcile my childhood with what I want my adulthood to be? What do I want my adulthood to be? Do I like girls or boys?"

In the late 80's I was first grade girl who liked a particular big-eared boy in her Sunday school class. In college, I was a philosophy minor so by the time I graduated I was over the whole meaning of life thing. The drinking though, I could identify with the drinking in the book.

While I was reading, I kept thinking that The Mysteries of Pittsburgh would make a great movie. Lo and behold, someone beat me to it and it came out on the big screen in 2008.

I haven't seen the movie version, but from the trailer it looks like the original story has been heavily reworked. Have to be honest, I doubt I will rent it.

If you've made it this far, congratulations. It's been a long post. But it's been a while and the baby was asleep, so I sized the moment. I hope everyone else's resolutions are going as enjoyably as mine!

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