This week’s reading:
How to Succeed in School Without Really Learning, David F. Labaree
The Exquisite, Laird Hunt
The End of the Pier, Martha Grimes
The Years of the City, Frederick Pohl
The Princess Cassamassima, Henry James
About Time, Jack Finney
First King of Shannara, Terry Brooks
This is actually two weeks’ worth of reading, since Game Chef cut into my reading and posting-about-reading time pretty seriously last weekend. I’m also kind of hosed from Passover preparations/celebrations, which means you’re getting my reactions this week in the form of a list.
- Henry James makes for slooooow reading, but his characters are genuinely surprising in awesome ways. I guess there’s a reason they call him the Master. I have to read Roderick Hudson sometime soon….
- The Labaree book is a brilliant exegesis of how we expect our public schools to fulfill contradictory expectations and goals. Unfortunately, the later chapters read like he published a bunch of articles, then slapped them together into a book without regard for duplication of argument or content.
- I like Frederick Pohl and wish to read more of him. Similarly, I hope that I never have to suffer through another Martha Grimes book, ever.
- Reading a book of twelve time-travel short stories makes me happy. However, reading a book of twelve time-travel short stories in which women are accessories at best and servants at worst makes me angry. I think an uncomplicated relationship with the tropes of time travel is only possible with a male protagonist, and only a relatively anti-feminist one at that. Oy, Jack Finney, why must you be a good writer who pisses me off?
- The Exquisite is beautifully, effectively surreal - and unlike most surreal books, it actually manages to pull off a satisfying, coherent ending. Obscure but distinctly recommended, if you can find it!
- You are not allowed to make fun of me for rereading the Shannara books, even if the prequel is unbelievably bad. I’m kind of stressed out about the approaching end of the semester and these books are total comfort food.</p>