so far this year i've read 23 books. i keep this information not in my brain but in my reading diary i started using in may of last year, because, obviously, who really remembers what they've read. had i not had the diary i'd never remembered what i read a month ago, let alone 6 months, or a year ago. so, yay for reading diaries! it's not a very elaborate thing, i only record title, author, date and a few key words or notes about it, so no pressure.
so in order of appearance, this is it.
- our band could be your life by michael azerrad. this lovely little book of 500 pages is subtitled "scenes from the american indie underground 1981-1991" and covers a whole line of important bands and indie labels, starting with the d.c. hardcore scene (and sst) and moving west to olympia with k records and sub pop. some of the bands covered is black flag, minutemen, hüsker dü, sonic youth, dinosaur jr, the replacements, fugazi, beat happening and mudhoney. it's a very nerdy and really interesting book, especially if you, like me, have an insatiable need for all things music-related.
- the virgin suicides by jeffrey eugencides. actually i started reading this last year when i was in glasgow, but put it down cos i found it boring. i really loved the movie so i was greatly disappointed with the book, i actually had to force myself to finish it, even if it's not very long. my tip is, watch the movie instead.
- the bell jar by sylvia plath. finally i got what the title actually means! at first a bit confusing but in the end things kind of fall into place.
- jenny by jonas gardell. i liked it before i even read it since it has my name on it, but really it didn't need that circumstance to lean on, it stands very well on its own. it's a beautifully written story. jonas is one of my favourite swedish authors in that he writes poetic and doesn't duck heavy and tragic content, such as violence, bullying, rape, abuse and the like.
- living my life by emma goldman. what a woman! this is emma's abridged autobiography, and it's still on over 550 pages! she's truly a fascinating woman. there's a lot of late 1800-early 1900 history in here, both on russia and on the u.s. i'm no history expert of any kind but there were things in here that i've never ever heard of and that clearly has been written out of history by the people who "won". it's a personal inside account on what went on in the american workers movement during this time and on the revolution in russia and its aftermaths. it's very dense and took some time to read but it was worth it.
- black girl/white girl by joyce carol oates. my first novel by her. has lots of contrast; white - black, rich - poor, religion - atheism, prejudice - open-mindedness, shielding - non-shielding. my strongest memory is that it was haunting.
- bitch - in praise of difficult women by elizabeth wurtzel. at times it was a bit ranting, but mostly it's smart and interesting. it's typical wurtzel in style and with lots of pop culture. according to herself in her second memoir (more, now, again, 2001) she was high a lot of the time when writing this, but i can't really say that you can tell, except maybe for it being very long.
- america the beautiful by moon unit zappa. i liked it! i had similarities to what francesca lia block writes and not only the setting. lots of art and music.
- prime by poppy z brite. sequel to liquor and as everything poppy, really good.
- soul kitchen by poppy z brite. sequel to prime and also great. poppy is one of my absolute favorite writers.
- the gum thief by douglas coupland. oh, man. as much as i love my favorite canadian's style and books, this one was a bit of a disappointment. it's hard to describe it as strange, cos most of his stories are a bit strange, but this was stranger. it was still good, but it wasn't great, which i always expect and almost always receive from coupland.
- special topics in calamity physics by marisha pessl. i became very infatuated with this novel. i still am! its form doesn't fit its contents, but because of that i really does; it's really a coming-of-age kind of story but in an academic form and a kind of dense but also poetic and beautiful language. there's a lot of contrasts here. also there's mystery! i don't know if the countless references to music, literature, poetry, theatre and movies (mostly old ones) are real of phony, but it doesn't really matter cos it's credible enough to work perfectly in the story.
- the amethyst child by sarah singleton. an ok book for teenagers with everything it should have; friendship, summer holiday, parents who just don't get it, falling in love, identification.. and a cult!
- the devil you know by poppy z brite. a collection of short stories. some good, some better.
- this book will save your life by a.m. homes. i believe i wrote about this, yeah? i want donuts!
- garnethill by denise mina. i rarely read crime, but i would never hesitate to pick up a novel by denise mina. i wrote about this as well, see the link above.
- the mistress's daughter by a.m. homes. a very very honest and raw autobiography mostly revolving around her adoption and when as an adult she came in contact with her biological parents. disturbing and interesting.
- all families are psychotic by douglas coupland. a bit crazier than usually but very sweet.
- exile by denise mina. book no 2 in the garnethill trilogy. maureen o'donnell's crazy life continues with a new suspicious murder. well written and very thrilling.
- resolution by denise mina. book no 3 in the garnethill trilogy. great as before.
- moral disorder by margaret atwood. my first book by atwood. i still can't really tell what this story is actually about but i liked reading it. it's a bit fragmented and it seems like it's made up of shorter stories that wasn't really meant to go together from the beginning, maybe. there were odd things about it, like the voice of the narrator changed between first person and second person over the chapters for no apparent reason. but all in all i enjoyed it. i plan to read her more known novels (the handmaid's tale and oryx and crake) in a not so far future.
- the brooklyn follies by paul auster. a truly awesome novel! very inspiring and extremely well written. i now have a huge crush on paul auster!
- låt den rätte komma in by john ajvide lindqvist. an impressive vampire/horror story set in a working-class suburb to stockholm in 1981. i'm so impressed by this that i scarcely know what to say about it. it's well written, totally believable, thrilling and sweet! (available as english translation)
this is normally about what i read in a year so that must mean i get 4 months extra this year. i have a pile of book to read next (more paul auster and john ajvide lindqvist to start with) but if you should have read something really great lately, please tell me! and as for you; now you have lots to pick from. if you don't know what to read next, don't blame it on me.