Inbox/Outbox: August 30, 2013

I’m taking a turn for our lovely Rebecca this week and attacking the Inbox/Outbox post.  I’m excited for you to see how super random and unthematic my reading is.  And I’m excited to know what you bought/borrowed and read this week!  Let me know in the comments.

Inbox (books acquired)


Douglas Coupland‘s new novel Worst. Person. Ever. crossed my desk this week in ARC form (it releases for real October 8).  I was really thrilled about this because I had a chance to chat with Coupland about it when he was in the process of writing it, and he described it thusly:

I won’t say it’s the filthiest, but it’s the rudest book ever written. And it’s about the world’s worst human being. His name is Raymond Gunt and he’s a B-unit cameraman in London. His ex-wife is a casting director who sends him off to the States to work as a cameraman on some sort of reality show set in the Pacific. He never actually gets there. And it’s just the foulest language, and really crude stuff. And it’s very liberating and therapeutic to read.

Yes sir, I am excited.  Coupland’s fiction is usually supremely restrained in this regard, so I’m very curious to see what happens when he lets himself off-leash.

Maddadam by Margaret Atwood is winging its way to me as I type this, and I can’t wait to dig in.  Rebecca already talked about it last week, so I won’t belabor the explanation as I haven’t touched its gorgeous cover, but I adored Year of the Flood and I am so pleased to see the new one out.  This is also a good time to remind you that Tuesday, September 3 is our Riot Reading Day in celebration of Margaret Atwood.

Outbox (books finished)

wolf-hall-2Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.  Wowza!  This was a slow push for me, but not for any reason other than it is a dense read.  I really love the slow burn of the narrative and I loved reading and experiencing a new perspective on the Tudor era and Henry VIII in particular.  Mantel does make some choices I am still thinking hard about (I’m not really sure why this isn’t a first person narrative when it is so very close to Cromwell’s experience of the world, and sometimes the use of the pronoun “he” as the constant referent for Cromwell is an odd and confusing choice).  It’s a beautiful novel with evocative, thoughtful prose, and I wasn’t at all surprised that it won the 2009 Man Booker Prize.

I’ve been rereading Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O’Malley this week as I prep for my new semester — I’m teaching it to my first-year lit students this year — and collected some thoughts about it here.  If you liked Scott Pilgrim, I strongly suggest giving Lost at Sea a read.  It’s a comic with a lot of emotional depth and charm and a really great read.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  I listened to this one on audiobook and I’m not yet sure what I think about it (I know I’m late to the party here for sure).  On the one hand, Stockett’s narrative has heart and empathy and she has strong facility in voice.  On the other hand, I think the issues of appropriation of voice in this novel are really quite real.  But she evokes time and space beautifully and it is an easy novel to get lost in.  So I don’t know!  I don’t know what I think about it.  (Feel free to help me out here in the comments.)

In the Queue

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien.  Fellow Rioter Peter Damien and I have big plans for a Lord of the Rings read-a-long starting early September.  Stay tuned for that because it will be snarky and delightful. (Imagine Peter and me on Twitter but with elves.)


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