Read in June 2012

1. Graceling, by Kristin Cashore
An enjoyable one-night read. Reminded me of the young adult fantasies I loved in middle and high school.

2. True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart, by Thich Nhat Hanh
Succinct reflections on mindfulness and love, from a Zen perspective. A beautiful little volume.

3. Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality, by Gail Dines
A feminist sociological account of the modern porn industry. She traces its history, beginning with the nude magazines of the fifties, to explain how it came to its current internet-based, multi-billion-dollar form. Her descriptions of the brutality of today's porn  the blatant misogyny and racism, as well as the sexualization of children via "pseudo-child" or "teen" porn  are highly disturbing, but crucial to her discussion of how porn affects its viewers and society at large.

4. Nativity Poems, by Joseph Brodsky
Of the multiple translators who put these poems into English, I certainly prefer the style of some over others (things like how they preserved rhyme and meter, etc.). The poems of his younger Christmases were more compelling and beautiful to me, but I can't remember much else beyond a few passages that glow in my memory.

5. Mastiff, by Tamora Pierce
Not up to her usual standards, e.g. the twist did not work for me, but still enjoyable for nostalgia's sake. Oh, and the romantic interest is too perfect, by which I mean, actually too perfect.

6. There Is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate, by Cheri Huber
Deep and deeply useful, accessible insights. More Zen.

7. The Terrible Girls, by Rebecca Brown
There is an odd flavor to these short stories, at times evocative and profound (re-readable to be sure), at times dry and head-scratching strange. The prose is definitely not the main dish here. And the subtle connections between the stories are genius to me.

8. From Housewife to Heretic, by Sonia Johnson
The memoir of a second-wave feminist excommunicated from the LDS church for her pro-ERA activism. She is a likable, engaging narrator; her passion and down-to-earth-ness are infectious and her story is compelling. I'm looking forward to reading her later works.

9. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
This was a happy complement to the movie, which I very much enjoyed. Another one-night read — just as fast and gripping as I'd heard it was.

10. Translation is a Love Affair, by Jacques Poulin
A small novel, vivid and refreshing to taste. I like the narrator-protagonist a lot. I like the book for its wisdom in what it does not attempt as well as for its success is just being lovely and pleasant.


Jenica 8/14/2012 8:39 AM  

Haha, the actually too perfect love interest. The bane of many a decent story. They've always annoyed me so...

odessa 8/14/2012 10:16 PM  

I haven't read any Tamora Pierce. Which one would you recommend?

Holly 8/15/2012 7:18 PM  

Jenica - I don't think I noticed them as such when I was actually a teenager, ha. But's dishonest and I would say it even troubles me, particularly when it's a book with a female protagonist/narrator i.e. more likely to be read by young women. I support high standards and realistic expectations.

odessa - The classic Tamora Pierce is the quartet that begins with Alanna: The First Adventure.. So delicious! I read it when I was eleven, I think, then again when I was nineteen.

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