What I’ve Been Reading: June Edition

IMG_3691It’s Monday, the universally most hated day of the week. At this point you can’t even see the weekend through all of the work yet to do, and it’s pretty discouraging, but we go through this week after week and somehow we make it through, and I don’t suppose this one will be any different. Most everyone has something they like to do once they are home from work, a way to unwind and relax before starting the whole process again tomorrow. Mine is reading and this is what I’ve been reading lately, so maybe you can take use some of these recommendations to help you get through the monotony of the work week.

The Road: Written by Cormac McCarthy, this novel focuses on the journey of a dad and his son, as they walk a lonely road in search of a better life. The world that once was, is no more, and very few people populate these United States. There are no stores or gas stations, no restaurants or movie theaters, all having fell victim to the disaster that destroyed nearly everything. The search for food and shelter are their top priorities, and they get by, relying on each other to keep moving on. It was a really good book, the voice of the father telling the story as it unfolds.

Spring Torrents: This book from the 1800’s, written by Russian author Ivan Turgenev, is one of my wife’s favorite books, and thus was highly recommended to me. It’s the story of a man, who while traveling through Germany, meets a girl who becomes the love of his life, and then his fiancé. It’s a story of one man’s journey, from the time he meets the girl, to returning to Russia to sell his estate so they will have enough money to start their life together. While in Russia, something unexpected happens that changes everything. It’s a pretty short read that ends rather abruptly, and while that annoyed me at first, I think it was the author’s intention to make the point at how quickly things can end.

Election: Written by Tom Perrotta, this book focuses on a high school election as several students try to become the next president of their school. Written from several different perspectives, a teacher, and several of the students, you get a sense that some things in high school are more important to some people than to others. It’s a story of betrayal, perseverance, of students and teachers alike constantly battling themselves in a struggle of right and wrong. I was first introduced to Perrotta through a book of short stories I read last year. Since then I’d been looking forward to reading more of his work, and Election did not disappoint.

Lust and Wonder: Augusten Burroughs is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I read A Wolf at the Table last year, a memoir of his childhood, and quickly became fascinated with his life, and the way in which he shares it. Of all the books on this list, Lust and Wonder is the one I recommend above the others, the story of his adult life, searching for love and contentment while battling his own personal demons, was a book that I had a hard time putting down. I started it late Saturday night and finished it today on my lunch break, getting lost in the story each time I began again. Like Jack Kerouac, Burroughs words feel like a privilege to read. There are several of his books that I haven’t read yet, but I am going to spread them out over time, using them as rewards going forward after I finish a particularly difficult book. I feel that it would be a disservice to the writer to binge read all of his work at once. To truly appreciate the greatness of his words, I think you need to take a break from them so that when you return you will see how truly lucky you are to be reading them.

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