Update on the 52 Books Project

I’m keeping up, even getting ahead on this project! I’m nearing the end of week 15, and I’ve finished 17 books so far. This morning I finished Keith Gessen’s All the Sad Young Literary Men, which is basically about being in your 20s in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It’s honest, it’s current, it’s lovely. I don’t know what it’s like to be a 20-something man, but this gives me a better idea. I probably shouldn’t mention it because I refuse to actually read any more than the excerpts, but The Average American Male (and its popularity) made me lose just a little hope in the male subset of the human race. All the Sad Young Literary Men redeems it, makes me realize that, while the average male exists, his existence necessitates the existence of above-average men. And there are men (possibly not only fictional) who think women are attracted to them because, “for all your problems you still read books, you were still a thumb in the eye of the way things were.” They have female counterparts, too.

Five-star books so far:

1. After the Quake by Haruki Murakami, for the succinct, dark, moving stories he weaves, the bleak tenderness.

2. I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley, even though I’ve recommended it to friends who either a.) can’t seem to buy it because of its cover, or b.) were turned off by her narcissism. I think she’s extremely funny (funny enough to make me laugh out loud on planes, on buses, in waiting rooms, funny enough to make me laugh with real tears). Also, she has these beautiful, poignant moments that I can totally relate to. I say that knowing it might make me a narcissist, and I don’t even care.

3. Blankets by Craig Thompson, for its honesty, for its complexity. I’d read one graphic novel prior to this, and am not completely enthralled by the genre, but I feel like this book used the form really well. It wouldn’t have been the same without the imagery. It was touching. It could have been (I thought it was going to be) a saccharine account of coming of age, but instead it was like raw sugar, brown and imperfect, natural, true.

4. All the Sad young Literary Men by Keith Gessen, for its well-crafted characters, who I would want to be friends with, and for the author’s intimate knowledge of being flung into the world post-college, intelligent, idealistic, alone. It’s a book about every thoughtful young person’s quest for knowledge of the world, of relationships, and of him (or her) self.

Should it interest you, you can keep up with my latest reading via Google Documents (which I link to in the blog’s sidebar), via a special page of this blog (linked to at the top of every page), or via Shelfari. And I take recommendations! Let me know if you’ve read anything particularly fabulous lately…



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2 responses to “Update on the 52 Books Project

  1. A couple books I’d recommend (almost as palette cleansers…I have no idea why I say that, but anyway)

    Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences by Ursula K. Le Guin (short stories)

    Coyote Cowgirl (Kim Antieau) (this one is a novel)

    Both of these reads are intelligent, soulful and folksy (but not in the Sarah Palin way…hehe) with a dash of political/social commentary, but just very readable.


  2. I know I’ve mentioned it before but I really suggest Smashed by Koren Zailckas. It’s sitting on my bookshelf, ready to go!

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