It’s time to play catch up again.
The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis:
I really liked this odd little story about a young man trying to get into Oxford and bed Rachel, the girl of his dreams. It’s a coming of age story– not a lot happens, but plenty happens, if you know what I mean. The book is made up of Charles’ notes on his conquest of Rachel (hence the name, The Rachel Papers), and as such we get to peer into Charles’ thought process and sometimes strange ideas. Charles is a little bit Max Fischer from Rushmore, a little Lance Scott from The Everlasting, a little someone one else all together. He’s a smart kid (he’s almost twenty, but still seems like a kid) who thinks too hard about some things and not enough about others, whose knowledge of his own intelligence stifles his use of it. What happens with Charles and Rachel, and what he learns from it, effects all aspects of his life, and it’s an iteresting change to watch.
Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy:
I’ve wanted to read this since it came out, and only just got around to getting it from the library. Now I’m going to have to go buy a copy. I want to give it to all the young women that I know, it’s that thought provoking. Levy looks at the popular culture of raunch– the culture that tells women that choosing to wear skimpy clothing, or be strippers, or be absolutely uninhibited around men is to be liberated. She looks at the dichotomy that’s been created that says that either you flaunt your sexuality or you must be embarrased by it- that there’s no middle ground for modesty. She interviews top women at Playboy, Girls Gone Wild, and other organizations who have taken over from the men in encouraging women to take their clothes off so men can ogle them, all the while calling it progression and choice and liberation. And she examines the history of feminism to put this movement into context, to show how we went from trying to be free from oppression to just oppressing ourselves. And it’s excellent. I need to read it again to fully absorb everything, and I need my own copy so I can write all over it.
An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde:
I wasn’t feeling good the other night, so decided to read one of my favorite plays. It’s witty, funny, poignant, and I love it. Lord Goring is one of my favorite characters of all time, and there’s some great, thought provoking themes running throughout.
Diary by Chuck Palahniuk:
Another reread, this is my favorite of Palahniuk’s books. Dealing with tradition, and the legacies we pass on to our children, it was especially powerful this reading. The themes of art and sacrifice and what we demand of artists are still there, but what stood out more this time was the theme of what we teach our children, and what that subsequently can cause them to suffer. The story reminds me of Shirley Jackson’s short story The Lottery; where a society has decided on a cruel plan to save themselves, and everyone is just fine with the violence as long as it doesn’t directly impact them. They call their actions loving and rational, when really they’re just cowardly and slothful. Diary is a fantastic book, although, like all of Palahniuk’s books, somewhat hard to read, but well worth it.
Current total: 41
Just finished: Diary by Chuck Palahniuk
Next up: I’m not sure