Sunday, July 15, 2012

5 books I want to read this summer - David's picks

Here are the five books I plan to read this summer:

by Guy Delisle

P.E.I. recently announced Guy Delisle's Burma Chronicles as the latest selection for their One Book - One Island reading initiative. Intrigued by this selection of a graphic novel, I picked up a copy and have now become a big fan of Guy's work. I loved his matter of fact observations of the Burmese, seemingly without judgement. I feel like I learned a lot about Burma as well as being quite entertained. Given that success, I am going to read more of his work, starting with Pyongyang: a journey through North Korea:
"Pyongyang documents the two months French animator Delisle spent overseeing cartoon production in North Korea, where his movements were constantly monitored by a translator and a guide, who together could limit his activities but couldn't r estrict his observations. He records everything from the omnipresent statues and portraits of dictators Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il to the brainwashed obedience of the citizens. Rather than conveying his disorientation through convoluted visual devices, Delisle uses a straightforward Euro cartoon approach that matter-of-factly depicts the mundane absurdities he faced every day." Publisher's Weekly

by Andrew Hood
Something about summer lends itself well to short stories. Short stories are also a great vehicle for edgier and experimental writing, a description for which I think this collection qualifies. I'll let you know.

"The stories included in Andrew Hood's latest collection are messy, beautiful, gross, funny, personal. The Cloaca is a train-wreck of awesomeness.It's your high school gym teacher, drunk and dishing dirt on all the other teachers on the cross-town bus - a stomach-turning spectacle that'll make you laugh out loud now, feel bad later. You won't be able to put this book down or look away for an instant" - publisher

by Sam Kean

Kean's previous work The Disappearing Spoon was a real treat for me, making this choice a no brainer for me.

"In The Disappearing Spoon, bestselling author Sam Kean unlocked the mysteries of the periodic table. In The Violinist's Thumb, he explores the wonders of the magical building block of life: DNA. There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, why other people have no fingerprints, and why some people survive nuclear bombs. Genes illuminate everything from JFK's bronze skin (it wasn't a tan) toEinstein's genius. They prove that Neanderthals and humans bred thousands of years more recently than any of us would feel comfortable thinking. They can even allow some people, because of the exceptional flexibility of their thumbs and fingers, to become truly singular violinists. Kean's vibrant storytelling once again makes science entertaining, explaining human history and whimsy while showing how DNA will influence our species' future" -publisher
by Michelle Butler Hallett

Having so greatly enjoyed Deluded Your Sailors, I have decided to go back and read MBH's previous novel Sky Waves:

"Critically acclaimed novelist Michelle Butler Hallett rolls out her raucous brand of satire in this tender exploration of the human need for communication, communion, and love. Skywaves is set against the development of radio in Newfoundland and Labrador, and told in 98non-linear but interconnected chapters. It crackles with comedy,modulates through history, and toys with a new signal-to-noise ratio. Sky Waves is definitely a lively and sometimes demented “aural”culture novel. Butler Hallett worked in radio for several years and has long been haunted by the story of a cousin who crashed his plane while looking for a lost child." -publisher

by Buddy Guy

A book for my guitarist son and I to share:
"Like a lot of Chicago blues musicians, Guy started out in the South-Louisiana,to be exact. His father negotiated the purchase of Guy's first guitar when Guy was 12. It cost $4.25 and had two strings. Later, after moving to Chicago, Guy came to know and play with the greats of the age-Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Leonard Chess (of Chess Records fame), and B.B. King, among others. In the 1960s, he was idolized by the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and Jimi Hendrix.Guy is a vibrant and hilarious storyteller. With a natural ease and honesty, he captures the spirit of the age, the culture of violence in the clubs, and the personalities of his colleagues. Ritz (Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye) does a great job of letting Guy's voice come through. Guy's trip to Germany with John Lee Hooker is especially humorous, and the authors capture Hooker's prominent stutter in print. Guy also describes the sad and infamous day Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter crash. VERDICT Highly recommended for any fan of Guy and those interested in the history of blues music.” - Library Journal

1 comment:

  1. I have finished my first title, Pyongyang: a journey through North Korea.

    It was as good as Burma Chronicles, although slightly more critical/political. Now I am looking forward to his latest, Jerusalem : chronicles from the Holy City