Angela’s Ashes

I finished reading the hilariously wonderful “Possible Side Effects” by Augusten Burroughs the other day when I ran across It’s a website that suggests what books you should read next based on the one you just finished reading. I entered in “Possible Side Effects” and up popped the likely list of other Augusten books, David Sedaris and Haven Kimmel. What I didn’t expect to see on the list was “Angela’s Ashes” by Frank McCourt.

Luckily I already own “Angela’s Ashes.” I saw it on the bookshelf at Goodwill a few years back and decided that for two dollars, it was a good investment. And now I’m glad I did. Since I’ve been boycotting the fascist library, the only thing left was to buy (too poor) or read something I already had.

“Angela’s Ashes” is a really interesting read so far. It reminds me a lot of “The Glass Castle” by Jeanette Walls, the way the father in the story drinks his paycheck every week and leaves the family to starve. Not exactly an uplifting story, but I can handle it. I’m about 200 pages in right now; I’ll fill you in on more when I finish.

My thoughts on the subject

I’ve been talking with quite a few people lately about “Where the Wild Things Are,” and I have drawn a conclusion. I’ve found that people who’d never read the book as a child, or had it read to them as the case may be, have trouble reading it for the first time as adults. They just don’t understand it. Reading it as an adult, you might just see a bratty little kid whom things always work out for.  But I think part of the magic of this book is having it read to you while you are mesmerized by the illustrations. Being young allows you to escape into the book and pretend that you are in the make-believe land with Max.

Whether you are a first timer, or have loved the book your whole life, seeing the movie will definitely allow you to escape into that dreamland that we all long for.

Hello again, Augusten.

For the past few weeks I’ve been happily reading “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” by David Wroblewski. It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve actually checked out a book from the library. The book is about 550 pages long, and I got about half way through, when the due date came up. At this point, you can normally go online and renew your items, but today, the fascist Live Oak Public Library decided to allow someone to place a hold on my book. My book! The book that I have invested several dozen hours into reading.

In compliance with the library’s wishes, I turned in the book today. Now, someone else may have a chance to get half way through and be thoroughly disappointed when they have to turn it in. What a load of crap.

So, now that I’m boycotting the public library, I’ve been forced to turn back to my limited collection of books. This collection contains a healthy serving of Augusten Burroughs, including one that I never finished: “Possible Side Effects.” This is another collection of essays by Augusten that recounts such jems as alcoholism, first jobs, and his first New York City pets. There is no telling why I never finished it, but I found it at the bottom of the stack and was pleasantly surprised. I love reading Augusten because I can identify with his extreme discomfort during social situations. Maybe that’s just me.

On a related note, I’m very excited for the release of Augusten’s new book, “You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas,” available October 27, 2009. Judging by the cover, this should be a good one.

A Girl Named Zippy

I just finished reading “A Girl Named Zippy” by Haven Kimmel and really enjoyed it. It’s a collection of memoirs from her childhood in a very small Indiana town. Zippy’s friends reminds me of my friends growing up and how all we’d do is ride bikes and get in trouble. Her father, a man of few, yet important, words is described as smelling like Lucky Strikes and the inside of an old pick-up truck, which is exactly how I imagined him to smell. Her mother rarely left the couch, except to go to church, and was always reading science fiction books. In fact, Kimmel’s next book, “She Got Up Off the Couch,” is a book that focuses on her mother and the heroic act of, you guessed it: getting off the couch.

“A Girl Named Zippy” is great book and I highly recommend it.