Let Me Write That Down

Thoughts of an Author in Training

January Books

Map of Time

DSCN0251Felix J. Palma

I picked this book based on its beautiful cover and the thickness. I figured a big book would make me feel       smart. But in buying it, I ended up having to give it to my father for Christmas because what I had originally gotten him, my brother had the same idea and therefore I was short a gift. My father ended up loaning it back to me over Christmas break so I could finish it as he found my bookmark about half way through. Woops.

I fell in love with this book. The author managed to intertwine more genres than should be combined in any book, but somehow it worked. I would classify the book as romantic- historical science- fiction, with an undertone of fan fiction in part two. The combination of all the genres probably accounts for the necessary and at times, lengthy details of historical characters. I do admit that this book takes some investment in interest to follow where the author is going to take you.

I promise that the juicy historical involvement, vulgar and criminal love stories, and introduction of literary heroes throughout the story will keep the plot moving and the pages turning.  Somehow Palma created a masterpiece that keeps the reader involved, the book nerds alert, and the investigative readers at the edge of their seats. It’s worth the investment of pages.

Me Talk Pretty One day

DSCN0249David Sedaris

I’m guilty of listening to This American Life all too often. One of my favorite writers that they have for short stories is David Sedaris, so I had to get one of his books. I was so impressed and jealous that authors out there can make a living in the retelling of their lives and presentation of simple ideas done poetically. I would love to give credit to Sedaris for inspiring me to blog and to write more and more every day.

I think the reason I’m so fond of his writing is his ability to take anecdotes and smash them together to create a story. His stories flow and have dimension that keeps me reading. I recommend this genre of short non-fiction to those readers who don’t want to invest their time in reading a lengthy singular story. Mr. Sedaris breaks up his books in to essays at lengths between two and ten pages. This means you can sit down and read one story in no time or you could feel accomplished and read ten stories in one day.

The two essays I would recommend from his book Me Talk Pretty One day are as follows. The Youth in Asia is a wonderful example of colliding anecdotes in to an emotional investment. I have to warn you that it is sad, but he handles the subjects of his life in an enlightening and truthful manner. The other essay is entitled Picka Pocketoni, hilariously informative on the ignorance of stubborn people abroad. If you’ve been traveling abroad anywhere, this essay is something to considerable giggle about.

The City of Ember

DSCN0250Jeanne Duprau

I received among many books this holiday season a book entitled The City of Ember from my roommate, who should know my reading style best of all. I’m a sucker for dystopian, end of the world novels, but not to the point of extraterrestrial intrusion or Vampire solutions. I haven’t jumped on the Vampire train and I don’t know if I ever will.

This book is a light and quick read, published in the early 2000s before the Hunger Games and the Divergent series, but along the same lines of building a utopian society of which the people become restless with the disillusioned perfectness of their world and seek to escape. This is right up my alley of guilty pleasures for the genre. Unfortunately, I think having read an overload of the dystopian novels recently, I felt the book all too predictable and simple. I know it’s a beloved classic for many people from their childhood, but I just read it at the wrong time and won’t be continuing the Ember series.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

DSCN0252Oscar Wilde

I must say that I’m guilty of being drawn to anything Irish, being that I lived there for a period of time. Oscar Wilde was Irish and I visited his strange and beautiful statue, but I had never read any of his work until this one. This book is part of the book club in which one of my best friends elected to start, as we read books from the banned book list.

It was hard to get in to after reading a great deal of modern works and I needed to transfer my mind in to the fashions of literature and language in which this story takes place, but hats off to Mr. Wilde for developing controversial themes concerning the preservation of beauty, vanity, and the disgusting greed that destroys one who is selfish. I also think he was commenting on the undesirable corruption youth can be in danger of if they’re not balanced in between idealism and realism.

In the book club one of my goals has been to discover the reasons in which the books were forbidden to the public.  Some books I suspect will be easier to pinpoint than others.  Politics always seems to be a good start in discovering the reasons why a book was banned, but for Dorian Gray I struggled. I’m open to ideas and perhaps I need a little more research, but off hand I would grapple between the anti-feminist ideals, which probably weren’t matters of trouble in the nineteenth century, and the sexual orientation of the author himself. Wilde was associated with the homosexuality rights movement in the late 1890s and his book was deemed immoral by the church in 1895, though they didn’t specify why. From my understanding Mr. Wilde was very open about his views and participation in homosexual acts and his prison sentence allowed the officials at the time to associate his lifestyle with his works being immoral.

But as with most books banned, this book is still surviving and rewarded for its literary merit. The themes are strong in this book and the ideas of art and culture are well written. The book is enlightening. It still challenges an independent and fast moving society to question the beauty of art and evaluate the ideals of vanity.

Go Oscar Wilde for sticking it to the man and for talking about cultural values in society. I look forward to reading some of his other works and maybe one day seeing the theatrical performance when it comes to town.


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This entry was posted on February 9, 2014 by in 52 Book Challenge and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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