Killing Time: what’s on my summer reading list.

Because nobody needs to read another post about my lack of fat camp, my mental state and the fact that my job is sucking my soul out through my pores…I give you the first annual Notes to Self reading list.

I love reading.  I really do. 

In February, during what would turn out to be my last opera gig, I bought myself a Nook.  That would be Barnes and Noble’s e-reader.  I love it.  I love it every day.

For all you purists out there, I know.  I love turning the pages.  I love the back covers.  I love the smell.  Reading can be, and often is, very tactile. 

But the last time I moved (and you all who helped can attest to this), I think a good quarter of the truck must have been books.  My books and the girls’ books.  Boxes and boxes of books.  I go through books like a fat man with a six pack and a pound.  (Mmmm…Taco John’s…wait? what?)  I have a houseful of books.

Yes, we have a library card.  My my tiny town library is about the size of my living room. I, personally, might have more books than our library.  And, because I live outside the city limits, I have to pay $40 per year to use it.  Which I do.  Because I’d like to support said library.  They are building a new and bigger one.  I’ll probably still have to pay $40 but at least I could actually maybe get lost there.  Isn’t that the beauty of a real library?  The ability to get lost in one?

I spent the money and got a Nook.  Since February, I have downloaded (some for free) slightly over 70 books and have read more than 40.  The point is that, not only am I carrying what amounts to 3 boxes of books, I have anything and everything that I *feel* like reading at any moment.  Fiction?  Historical fiction?  True crime?  Classics?  Current Events?  Got it.  Check, check and check. 

I still have real books.  My beloved Nook has not replaced the paper and ink and never will.  Not completely.

What am I reading? 

 The Blind Side by Michael Lewis.  I haven’t seen the movie (yet) so I thought I’d read the book first.  This was actually a library find.  I am pleasantly surprised to find out that it’s part biography of Michael Oher and part football play book.  There is quite a bit of history into the different NFL player positions and what each position does.  This might be a little basic to those of you raised to be offensive linebackers (I?  Was not?) but it helps someone like me who is a fair-weather football watcher.  I mean, I love the food and the season.  I love listening to the crowd get all pumped and I adore college football but mostly because of the bands.  Not that I was in band.  I sat with the band.  I dated the band.  Well, not the flute players but you know what I mean.  I may or may not have dated my way through the drum line in the years 1994-1997.  Not that it has anything at all to do with this book.

I’m about an eighth of the way through it.  The first few chapters were a bunch of NFL history but now that it is getting into the actual biography, I’m hooked. 

I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle.  Complete coincidence that this is also a movie.  Is it a movie?  Or did I imagine it?  I don’t think it did well.  Jen Lancaster had this on her summer reading list two summers ago and I’ve been looking for it ever since.  I found it in the deep discount pile at Barnes and Noble so I nabbed it.  This is pathetically funny in a Napoleon Dynamite meets Orange County kind of way.  Geeky kid has a crush on popular girl and decides during his high school graduation speech that he is going to live life without regrets and tell everyone what he thinks of them.  Starting with Beth Cooper.  He’s pretty full of himself and doesn’t realize his own dorkiness.  It’s equal parts bus wreck (can’t. stop. watching.) and endearing.  Short book.  Easy read. 

 It Sucked and then I Cried: How I had a baby, a breakdown and a much-needed Margarita by Heather Armstrong.  This is ripped right from blogdom.  Heather is the author of the much-lauded blog Dooce.com and this book chronicles her pregnancy and the birth of her daughter and the severe and debilitating Post Partum Depression (PPD) that followed.  She had it so bad that she put herself in the hospital for a week.  Traumatized.  Heather has a wonderful voice that lends itself to story telling quite well.  (Probably why her blog is so popular…duh.)  I don’t know that every mother or mother to be should read this book but maybe those of us who have come out the other side can appreciate it and maybe can help out another new mama.  I’m fairly certain that I had some significant PPD when Amelia was tiny.  I remember thinking that she was breathing too fast (a sign of an infection in a baby) and that she was surely going to die while I was sleeping.  I even called the doctor (God bless Dr. Kyle for not locking me up right then and there) with her breaths per minute to see if she was going to live through the day or if I should take her to the ER right then and there.  Amelia was 9 days old.  I know.  Certifiable.  Anyway, I can appreciate this book completely.  And it’s really freaking funny. 

You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes and Their Impact on a Generation by Susannah Gora  Seriously?  With a title like that how could I NOT read it?  I have this on Nook but I think this might have been better as an actual book because then I could lend it out to everyone born from 1968-1977.  We’re talking about a very specific section of Generation X.  Does the name Jake Ryan make your heart flutter just a little?  Raise your hand if you can quote, in its entirety, any of the following movies: The Breakfast Club (Me!), Sixteen Candles (Me again!), St Elmo’s Fire, Say Anything, Pretty in Pink.  Yes?  Then you need to read this book.  Each chapter discusses a different movie and there are several chapters on some of the key players: Ringwald, Sheedy, Hall and a chapter devoted to what a total weirdo John Hughes was.  He loved you and then he hated you.  Repeat.  Did you know that he wrote Sixteen Candles just for Molly Ringwald? 

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore.  I know he’s a pretty prolific writer but I just got into him this spring when I read Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal.  If you haven’t read it, you should.  Now, I am Lutheran to the core, born and raised, so I can appreciate much of the tongue in cheek Biblical humor and I have to remind myself that this is fiction!  But so very, very funny.  And quotable: “Nobody’s perfect.  Well, there was this one guy but we killed him.”  See.  Hilarious.  I haven’t started A Dirty Job yet.  It’s sitting, patiently waiting, on my Nook.  But I hope it’s as good as Lamb.  This is book about death.  And it had better be funny. 

So, that’s the short list.  If all goes as planned and I quit my job next week sometime (Really?  Am I ballsy enough to just up and quit after 7 weeks?), I should have everything read by Independence Day weekend.

No matter.  My Nook goes where I go. 

I do, however, need to detach my debit card from my Nook account.  It’s all too easy to window shop.  And then window buy.  And then wonder if I’ll ever get around to reading The Scarlet Letter.  Again.  Or The Wind in the Willows.  Again.  But for a dollar, how could I not just carry it around with me?

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3 thoughts on “Killing Time: what’s on my summer reading list.

  1. I actually love Dooce too, and started reading the book. Haven’t had time to finish it, but saw you mentioned it and it made me smile.

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