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Reading, thinking

I recently finished World War Z, which you should absolutely read if you’re a fan of zombies. When I mentioned during #fridayreads that I was reading this, The Book Maven commented that yes, it’s a great book but it’s also one that makes you think.  And it is.  When I tell people about the book, it sounds preposterous, but it’s so well thought-out, so intricately detailed, so authoritatively told.  It makes a zombie apocalypse seem possible.  From the initial outbreak to the spread of the illness to the Great Panic to the recovery.  It all seems reasonable and realistic when reading. (So maybe it wouldn’t be an actual zombie apocalypse, but I can see how the scenario he envisions could happen with a devastating, widespread illness.  It’s frighteningly real.)

A few more for the Books That Make You Think list:

The House of Mirth – Lily Bart is one of my favorite characters, but she isn’t terribly likeable.  She is sympathetic, though.  Strange.  She does such shallow things in the name of money and status; it can be tempting to write her character off.  But you simply can’t, even when she brushes aside Selden.  She illustrates how difficult it was to be a woman at the end of the 19th century.  She doesn’t have any money of her own, she is dependent on the kindness of friends and family, and she needs a good marriage to be able to continue.  When all of these things fail her, it’s heart-breaking.  Even though she is shallow and manipulative, the end of the book is heart-breaking.  Because I loved her.  And I love Edith Wharton for bringing this character and her story to life.  For making me think about what life was like for women 100 years ago, for making me think about how much things have changed and how much they are still the same.

The Awakening – Similar to the House of Mirth.  Remembering the ending alone gives me a heavy heart.

Outliers: The Story of Success – My book club read this over the summer and gave us one of our most lively discussions.  I don’t know that I agree with all of Gladwell’s assertions or that I would change my parenting if I did, but we thought about and talked about this book for weeks.

Light in August – Of all the books I read in grad school (and good god, did I read a bunch of books), this one stands out as one to add to this list.  Faulkner is always a challenging read — confronting his readers to see things from a new perspective, to look at history differently.  And Absalom, Absalom! is one of my all-time favorite novels (see the name of my site).  But Light in August confronts miscegenation and racial conflict head on, sparking a great conversation in class and in the hallway after class and in a bar a few weeks after class.  That’s the sign of a good book.

Just so you know I put a lot of thought into writing this, here are my notes…

I scribbled these notes in my Moleskine at Starbucks one morning.  I’m working hard.

And we made a trip to the library this weekend.  I picked up a book for my 10-10-10 challenge.  This one will be my non-fiction/true story book.  We also picked up 10 Caldecott books for my daughter.  When she finishes these, she will have read all 71 Caldecott books — her own personal reading challenge.

Right now, I’m reading Everyone Is Beautiful.  (See pictures below.)  Also for my 10-10-10 challenge.  But also because I’ve heard the book is very good.



One thought on “Reading, thinking

  1. Excellent list. Love the intense note-taking!! Looks like my own notes. 🙂

    Posted by katarinasmama | March 9, 2010, 5:32 pm

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