Monday, August 10, 2009

Summer Reading Update

So far my favorite book of the summer is Perfect Life by Jessica Shattuck.  I found the book so thought-provoking I started taking notes while reading - something I haven't done for a fiction book since my English courses in college.  I had a long review composed but unfortunately a blogger mishap lead to me losing most of my response.  I will rewrite and post a review shortly. I highly recommend this book for book clubs. The book engenders so much discussion.  I can imagine classes sitting and discussing the book and how it reflects modern life. And that to me is the highest compliment.  

In other marnes and nobles news, I must share a recent BandN experience.  I was happy to spend some time in the Union Square BandN yesterday - it was formerly up there as one of my favorite NYC BandN's, mainly because you used to be able to sit in the large windowsills that overlook Union Square and the back of the store.  Apparently, every New Yorker must love this bookstore.  The place is mobbed on a Sunday afternoon.  And this has lead the powers that be to change the policy regarding sitting and reading. There are signs throughout the store saying: "Please do not sit in front of these shelves or in the aisles.  Thank you." There is some seating set up on the 3rd and 4th floor, but apparently people get there early to claim these seats.  It honestly it took me over half an hour to find a spot to sit that complied with the rules (I tried sitting in the YA section, as I used to, and was asked to move as I was blocking the aisle).  I am happy to report there are no rules about sitting in the aisle at my BandN in DC.

In store reading: Yesterday, I read The Impostor's Daughter by Laurie Sandel.  I had heard a great deal about this book before I picked it up.  The fact that the author's unique story is told in the format of a graphic novel intrigued me.  I haven't read many graphic novels so its hard to evaluate The Impostor's Daughter.  One doesn't really get a sense of Sandell's writing ability, but we do get a sense of her ability to illustrate.  The story itself is fascinating.  Her father, an economics professor, is actually a con man who has lied about successive university degrees. His larger than life personality greatly affected Sandell's coming of age, and her quest to understand the truth helps her find herself as an adult.  Sandell doesn't hold any information back. There are  "cartoons" of her and her boyfriend engaging in sexual activity, and of her interviewing various celebrities for Vogue. A dependance on Ambien is also explored.  One has to applaud Sandell for being so forthcoming about her past exploits, and the truth about her family. There is something to admire in her courage -- she felt she needed to uncover the truth even though the rest of her family did not really approve.  I really appreciate that The Impostor's Daughter is a unique format. It felt so strange to hold a hardcover in my hands, and then to discover that the whole story was told through images and words.  I always revel in individual's who find new ways to express themselves, new ways to manipulate and fine-tune the written word.  Sandell does exactly that.

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