Thursday, October 1, 2009

Reading List: September 2009

Severe lack of updates this past month for a lot of reasons, but for the most part due to a focus elsewhere. My thesis shall be finished on time, though I foresee a frantic weekend of rewriting after I get notes from my advisor and before I submit it to my committee. All said, it is actually going pretty well and I just might be able to massage the content into a journal submission or two.

I have no idea how much content I will have time or desire to post this month, but I am sure I will think of something. I may even take bits of my thesis and alter them into blog posts. Anything to procrastinate. Anyway, in the month of September I read 9 books and 8 graphic novels, and this is what they were:
  • Open Secrets by Dayton Ward
  • Rose by Jeff Smith & Charles Vess
  • Stupid, Stupid Rat-Tails by Smith, et al.
  • Enough About Me by David Shields
  • Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon
  • Our Cancer Year by Harvey Pekar, et al.
  • Nobility of Spirit by Rob Riemen
  • Half in Love by Maile Meloy
  • The Soul Key by Olivia Woods
  • Powers: The 25 Coolest Dead Superheroes of All Time by Brian Michael Bendis & Michael Avon Oeming
  • Swamp Thing: Earth to Earth by Alan Moore, et al.
  • The Nobody by Jeff Lemire
  • The Walking Dead: Miles Behind Us by Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard
  • The Broken Shore by Peter Temple
  • Ron Carlson Writes a Story by Ron Carlson
  • The Dead Fish Museum by Charles D'Ambrosio
  • The Impostor's Daughter by Laurie Sandell
Dan Chaon is the best writer that nobody reads, and Await Your Reply was a damn good book. The short story collection by D'Ambrosio is also worth your time, but you should avoid Lemire's The Nobody and Temple's boring mystery novel.

Please ask questions and/or offer opinions about anything here.


Brendan Moody said...

I just read Await Your Reply myself. Excellent prose and believable characters, though I was hoping for a more dazzling plot, and I was very conscious of Chaon's attempt to make identity theft, a mundane crime (though devastating to its victims) into a phenomenon with literary meaning.

Jon Polk said...

I found the skill with which Chaon was able to take three narratives that we first think are happening simultaneously and slowly reveal their true order w/o an explanation or orientation sequence was masterfully done.

As to identity theft, it seemed to me that Chaon was using it as a device to explore the ways in which we construct our own identity, how malleable it can be and is. It also seems to be a theme running throughout his work; remember the existential problems of how Jonah saw himself w/r/t his brother Troy in You Remind Me of Me.