Friday, November 27, 2009

In Review: Beauty Salon

Because two books is never enough, I started in on a third:

To be fair, Mario Bellatin's
Beauty Salon is not a full length novel. It's a very tiny, thin book that ends a little after 60 pages. Hence why I chose it. I'm about halfway done. Probably the first depressing book I've read in awhile (although, The Monster Variations had it's moments). It's basically about this cross dressing hair dresser who converts his beauty salon into a clinic for the sick and dying. I guess the people are dying of HIV/AIDS, although the novella never explicitly states that. I went back to "Sky" last night during a long train ride (I missed reading that book, so...) when I could have finished "Beauty" ... I keep trying to read at work but it's just not happening. I honestly don't know how librarians find the time to read, blog, tweet and do everything else... I'm pooped. Hopefully, I'll get through both "Beauty" and "Sky" this weekend.

Monday, November 23, 2009

So Many Books...

...and you know the rest. After taking a week or two off from reading, I am now reading not one but two really interesting books that I'm really enjoying. It's hard to pick which one to finish first.

A colleague of mine put this book in my hand and told me I have to read it. He also describes it as "the gayest book ever" (which I usually reserve to "Running With Scissors" but okay) so I was initially intrigued. It's likely I'm going to finish this one first since it's on loan and I really need to give it back to the person I took it from. I kind of literally stole it off her desk, but she was watching the whole time and smiling so I guess it's okay. The format is very similar to "Sophomore Switch" (I think, at least) in that there are two different characters and chapters alternate between them. The title refers to the fact that both boys have the same name. One of them is gay and one of them is not. The way the book is written though... you could almost see the characters being the same character, so I think it's being deliberately ambiguous. Or we're already supposed to know. I'm not sure. I'm making this book sound super confusing, huh? Well, it's not... it's actually kind of sweet. The language is natural and the supporting characters, including the obese "Tiny" are a joy to discover and read about. So far, I haven't found anything I didn't like so I guess we'll see how the novel progresses. It's a little bigger than I like my books, but since it's good I guess we can let it slide.

The "Sky Always Hears Me..." might just be the first book that I have started reading that I absolutely love. I don't usually bother my friends and family about books I'm reading... I honestly didn't think I was one of those people. Turns out, with this particular book, I am. Each "break" - I call them that because the book really isn't in chapter format - are interspersed with a fortune you would get in a fortune cookie. This is partially because the main character likes writing little fortunes and leaving them everywhere and partially to give you insight into the section you are about to be reading. I usually hate books that cover a vast amount of time... probably the weakest part and only criticism of "Sophomore Switch" actually... but with this story, you don't really notice. I've been reading reviews which describe the main character as "whiny" but I'm not finding her to be so at all. More than anything, she's confused about life and her place with the people in it. Maybe I'm loving it because I'm just relating to her confusion, but I can't say enough nice things. I'm about 100 pages in. Nothing has really happened yet. Maybe nothing will. But I, for one, am I super excited to see how it ends.

That's what I'm reading. What are you?

Also, if you get a chance, be sure to check out my featured "guest spot" on the NY Librarians' Meetup Blog for the Beta Phi Mu sponsored tour of the American Numismatic Society.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

In Review: The Pride by A. Campbell

Have you ever read a book and not know how you felt about it? That's my experience while sifting through Alexi Campbell's "The Pride" - a play set in two time periods, one the 1950's and the other more modern times. The book is bizarre, especially since the 1950's piece seems somewhat more interesting. Though, not by much. The story kind of drags, but I suppose that's to be expected in a play. Especially one with homosexual content where you want the readers or viewers of the work to be moved emotionally, which ultimately takes time.

If I wasn't used to reading plays (remember my wondeful work with
The Rivier Theater Company?), I probably wouldn't like "The Pride" very much. As it happens, I'm slightly into it. It's also a pretty quick read, and in dramatic stage setting terms wouldn't be that hard to produce; you would just need to find three characters to play the lead parts and learn a buttload of lines. I also think the female character, who plays an important role in the '50s story as the wife of a gay man, is a little forced in the modern version; she supposedly has one of those co-dependent relationships that gay men and straight women form that are always doomed to fail. Hmmm... maybe I'm being oddly pessimistic there? Anyway, she's just not that interesting in the modern version but then, none of the characters are. Had this book stuck to one time period, I may have liked it more. It also makes it slightly confusing, what the the characters in the past and in the future having the same names and all. Still, I'm not sad that I read it, and I might even recommend it to someone looking to do an offbeat and bizarre play.

Also, is it just me... or does "The Pride" seem like a really bad a title?