Books of August

Oh the last month of summer. The last month I can read a book by the pool.

I have to say that making the goal of reading three books a month seems not that challenging, but at the same time it is. It’s easy to come up with excuses not to read, and some are legitimate…but having this goal has often made me pose the question, “Read or play video games?” “Read or watch TV?” “Read or troll the internet?” And thus I choose the former, but I know that if it wasn’t my goal to read, I would just indulge in more screen time (of which I get plenty).

Here’s what I read by the pool this month.

51CezGFihILMy Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me edited by Kate Bernheimer – As a kid, I couldn’t get enough of the weird, violent, cannibalistic elements of fairy tales, and since I’m a big Angela Carter fan, this book has been on my “to read” list for awhile. But, overall, this book was just too damned long for me. There were some stories that I would love to read again, and others that I couldn’t stand, and maybe I would have enjoyed the last few stories more if the book itself wasn’t so overwhelming. Instead of rag on aspects I didn’t like, I will just tell you a few of my favorites and if you’re a fan of fantasy and adult fairy tale literature, I hope that you check out at least one. Of course I liked several more, but these are my top four:

“A Day in the Life of Half of Rumpelstiltskin” by Kevin Brockmeier

“The Mermaid in the Tree” by Timothy Schaffert (my favorite of the whole book)

“Catskin” by Kelly Link

“Pleasure Boating in Lituya Bay” by Jim Shepard

mzi.jeamasis.225x225-75 The Power of Storytelling by Jim Holtje – I am a big fan of personalizing presentations, and telling stories is a key way to get people to not only remember you and your message, but make them believe in your message. This book is more tailored to those in the business world, than someone like myself in education, but nonetheless I wanted to get a better grasp of how to effectively choose and tell my stories. Unfortunately, I got bored too easily. I felt like the stories were too surface level, and while I did dog-ear a few for later reference, overall they weren’t very memorable. In addition, the book didn’t really help me develop my own stories, but suggests that you use these CEOs’ stories when you give a presentation. Um yeah, no thanks; I don’t exactly what to reference the CEO of Dow Chemical when I’m trying to motivate and inspire people. I give it a “meh.”

 

UnknownKing Rat by James Clavell – This is officially the 20th summer in a row I have read this book. I almost feel like there should be some special limited edition print just for me, like “Lindsay’s 20th anniversary edition.” I’m not sure why this books speaks to me so much, but perhaps it’s my own personal fantasy in some sadistic way. There are no women characters, but a slew of POWS held in Singapore during WWII by the Japanese, and I find their relationships intriguing, entertaining, and complicated. Every time I read the book, I feel like I’m unraveling a new clue, and if you saw my recent post about planning my funeral, you know that I want the final passage to be read at my wake. 

There was a movie made in 1967 (which I have seen), but I think when you know a book so well it’s sort of impossible to pare it down to 120 minutes. That being said, I think HBO should option this one as a series and let me be a lead story consultant.

 

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