Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Boozy Book Club No. 13

The funeral was yesterday. Afterward, we went to Grandma's apartment and picked out keepsakes by which to remember her. There was so much to go through in that little apartment. It felt weirdly like shopping. We came home with a trunk full of items that we'll cherish.

Grandma was an avid reader. In the old house in Brevard, N.C., there were books everywhere. She had to part with many of them when she moved to Ohio after Grandpa died. She managed to build up decent collection in the eight years since then. We brought home a few volumes to add to our library.

Mrs. Viper chose a set of Louisa May Alcott books and some antique children's books. I found part of a collection of Mark Twain books that will now become my mission to find the missing volumes to complete the set. I also found an old copy of Dante's Divine Comedy. Now, when we read those books, we'll think of Grandma and the rich life she led.

Books Finished
Well, after re-borrowing the Jack London book since my last update, it went back to the library again unfinished. I got through half of White Fang and called it quits. As London considered it a companion story to Call of the Wild, it was not surprising that they felt similar to read. Too similar. I just got bored with it.

Next up was George Saunders' Tenth of December, a collection of short stories released in January. A few years ago, I went through a big phase of reading lots of short stories, and Saunders was always one of those writers I meant to read, but never got around to it. He has an interesting style, which reflects our modern language trends. Some of the stories felt like they were written as text messages or Tweets.

While many of the tales here were satirical, the final, eponymous story involved an ailing man who decided to go off into the woods and freeze to death, but ended up saving a young boy's life instead. It was quite touching. Modernday alienation was a major theme in these stories. If you're into short fiction, give this collection a try. I'll be seeking out more of Saunders' work.

Books in Progress
Now, I'm reading Joyland, the latest by Stephen King. I can count on one hand the number of King books I've read. He's never been an author I really got into, but this short book sounded good. So far, it's not bad. It's due back at the library, and I'm racking up late charges to finish it. It's about a college student who spends his summer working at a carny theme park. Would you be surprised to learn that one of the rides is haunted?

Comic Books Consumed
There are probably a dozen comics waiting for me at my local comic shop. I haven't been able to get out there in a few weeks. The final issues of Batman Inc. and Dial H are among the comics I'm anxious to read. However, I've borrowed a couple trade paperbacks and graphic novels, including a bunch of Superman stories I wanted to read before seeing Man of Steel, which is now gone from the theaters. Oh well. I've been a bad comic book nerd.

Now, it's your turn, teammates. What books have been on your nightstand? Any recommendations? Any poor choices? Let me know in the comments. Cheers!


Redhead Running said...

As sad as the funeral part is, that part about cherishing your grandmother's books made me smile.

You have my curiosity peaked over Joyland, it's been a long time since I've picked up a Stephen King book.

I'm not reading anything of particular interest right now, but I'm listening to "To Kill a Mocking Bird" and I'm actually quite enjoying it.

Viper said...

I spent most of the first half of Joyland waiting for something to happen, but it's kept my interest and I'm will to eat some late fees to finish it. (I can't renew it because other people have placed a hold on it--they'll have to wait.)

KW said...

I love finding keepsakes like that when one passes. My grandfather left me these old Engineering books from when he went to school after WWII. THey were old and I loved them.

I just finished Walking Dead, Compendium 1. I still like the show better, but the Graphic Novel definitely had me on my toes at the end. I couldn't believe the stuff that went on and I'm so ready for 2 (ready to go). The only thing I don't understand is why no one killed the Governor sooner.

I'm trying to finish The Stand by Stephen King, which I need to just finish. I keep getting sidetracked. I also started Walking in Relaxed Manner about the Camino de Santiago.

Viper said...

The Stand is one of the few class King books I want to read. However, I really want to find the pre-expanded version.

I thought about going back to read Walking Dead, but I decided to just stick with the TV show. I know it's different, but I'm not enough of a zombie fan to get into all that.

KW said...

Actually, I'm reading the expanded newer version of The Stand. I never read it before though. King does give a monologue at the beginning of the book on why he changed things, but otherwise, I don't know what has been actually changed. It's really good, but I just got distracted. I mostly read on the plane and it's just too big of a book to carry sometimes. So, I got hooked on other things. Plus, it has really long chapters...I hate those.

I am a zombie fan, but the show is better for sure.

Viper said...

That's ultimately my biggest complaint about Stephen King: he so long-winded. That's what attracted me to Joyland. It's only 280 pages. BTW, just finished it last night. It's a good read. Cheers!

Jamoosh said...

I am reading "Beer School" - a friend of mine is (hopefully) opening a brewery and I may invest.

Nitmos said...

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley. Like Jekyll and Hyde, I like to check out the original source of all the lame, schlocky derivatives. So far, so good.