Thursday, August 10, 2006

Summer Reading List - Week Ten

Looks like this is the penultimate* Summer Reading List. I guess that I could call it the ultimate list, since school starts back Monday - but since this has always been a midweek sort of feature, I suppose that next Thursday's will be the final one.
Ah, Summer Reading List, we hardly knew ye...

Blogging isn't the only thing that has fallen by the wayside this week; so has reading - although a lot of "Operation DeClutter" has involved going through a brazillion old magazines - to see if I could remember why I was saving them - was it for a recipe? a travel article? Lots and lots of old magazine reading, I'll tell you what!

Now for the books....
  • JPod: A Novel - Douglas Coupland
    I don't know what to tell you about this one - I'm not going to recommend it, but I'm not going to not recommend it either. I know, that makes no sense, but I am somewhat conflicted about this book.

    I can't tell if Coupland has changed, or if I have. In many ways, JPod seems a bit too familiar, very much a Microserfs retread. Although, I loved Microserfs, so is that a bad thing??? The parents seemed too familiar, the coworkers seemed too familiar, the girlfriend character, etc. etc. etc. Been there, done that...

    Also, many of Coupland's tricks, which I used to find intriguing, now just seem tiresome and gimmicky: pages and pages of random text snippets?

    Chihuahua Death!!! Nacho Cheesier!!!

    And did I really need 42 pages of text listing out the first one hundred thousand digits of pi? (plus one incorrect digit, can you find it???) It all just seems a little too "ain't-I-cool??" - and frequent readers of the Summer Reading List know how much that bugs me.

    A new trick, but one that, unfortunately, also wears thin quickly, is Coupland inserting himself into the book as something of a deux-ex-machina character. He seems to delight in having other characters refer to him by a particular 7 -letter epithet. (It's one of our president's favorites. It rhymes with "Glass bowl"....)

    However, there are wry observations by the thousands, and the pacing and styling is pure vintage Coupland - so if you like him, don't necessarily write this one off. However, if you're new to Coupland, this book (largely style, little substance) is not where you want to start...

  • Baby Proof - Emily Giffin
    Our protagonist, Claudia, has always known that she has never wanted to have children. Always. So, when she meets Ben, and learns that he has no desire for children either, it seems like a match made in heaven.
    They get married; they have fabulous child-free careers, fabulous child-free vacations, a fabulous child-free life.
    Until one them changes his mind...

    This is a well constructed, thought-provoking, and multi-layered story. Yes, you could dismiss it as "just another chick-lit book", but you'd be doing it (and yourself) a disservice.
    (Plus, I just learned that Giffin is an ATL girl! You go, Emily!)

*I love this word, and you almost never get to work it into everyday conversation...

Previous Summer Reading Lists
I / II / III / IV / V / VI-VIII / IX


capello said...

only two?

i'm reading my first non-serious book since, oh, sixth grade. i'm enjoying it.

and i'm so very, very ashamed.

capello said...

[people say, "you humpty, you're really funny lookin'" that alright, cuz i get things cookin']

jen said...

oh man you are now on book 932 and i am STILL plugging away on under the banner of heaven! hahaha
maybe by the time i finish it you will be on book number 1823781231263!!!
hee hee hee