Sad and comic autobiography of an outcast’s youth during America’s Great Depression. Vivid descriptions and honesty to the past are two of the “pros” for this novel. The “cons” include a lack of any real plot or character development (static, everyone) and humor that was too often infused with violence or sex. Overall, though, it is an enjoyable work for any fan of Bukowski, particularly those interested in Bukowski’s youth and home-life.
Goat: A Memoir by Brad Land
Interesting.. twisted at times.
The Order of the Poison Oak by Brent Hartinger
Not that great.
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
Wonderful young adult book about a boy growing up during the Revolutionary War. Fun fiction story which includes meetings with the likes of Ben Franklin, John Adams, etc.
A Son Called Gabriel by Damian McNicholl
Such a great find! I don’t remember where I came across this book, but I’m glad I did. Story about a boy growing up in Ireland during the war.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Kind of sappy, but good. Makes you think about the important thigns in life.
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Very cute. Worth the read – it’s quick.
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Wonderful, wonderful book. Highly recommended.
The Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Probably one of my favorite Hawthorne novels. I think I like it even better than The Scarlet Letter.
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
Beautiful ‘writing back to empire’ book. Rushdie is pretty amazing.
Geography Club by Brent Hartinger
Simple. Kinda boring.
Jack Maggs by Peter Carey
This is another ‘colony strikes back at imperialism’ boko – like Wide Sargasso Sea. Jack Maggs takes on the story of the character Magwitch from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Beautiful and intelligent telling of the characters – cunningly writes a Dickens-esque character into the book.
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
This is a brilliant prequel to Bronte’s Jane Eyre. If you read Jane Eyre and liked it – read this book! Actually, read it anyway. I read it before reading Jane Eyre and still loved it.. but it’s definitely better to get the back-story first – makes you appreciate the symbolism and storyline even more. A wonderful ‘colonial’ book.
The Coming Storm by Paul Russell
Another book about the blurred lines between teacher/student and adult/teen and lover/lover relationship. A boarding school boy falls for and seduces a new young teacher… and all the mayhem follows close behind. Actually a very good read.
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Wildly intelligent and fun. Almost as good as Angels and Demons.
Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice
Very interesting fictionalization of the story of Jesus Christ’s childhood. Very much enjoyed this book.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Great, great book. Don’t know what else to say except ‘read it.’
Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
Amazing! Incredibly funny and intelligent. One of my favorite books.
England, England by Julian Barnes
Hilarious irony. Brilliant.
Totally Joe by James Howe
So cute and funny. An easy, enjoyable read. Something for a lazy summer day.
The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green by Joshua Braff
Such a good, relaxed read. Very, very funny. And also very moving.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
One of the best British Victorian novels.. or any novel.. of all time. I absolutely loved this book. The Bronte sisters are incredible.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Very beautiful story about the life of two black sisters in the 1950’s. Takes place in southern U.S.A.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
Awesome! Simultaneously hilarious and haunting.
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
A classic… but ‘meh.’
The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy
Beautiful commentary on living “the good life.” Highly recommended.
quotes, excerpts and reviews
You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence. Octavia E. Butler
My life as a black, disabled teenager
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