Sunday, November 14, 2010

What I'm Reading (and What I've Read) - November 2010 Edition

I know - I've been a bad blogger the past few months. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that this is going to get any better - job 1 + job 2 are going to be crazy until Christmas, and my research is starting to speed up (if only I could get more participants!). However, I do have some plans to catch up on my posting during the Thanksgiving and winter holidays breaks. To tide you over until then, here is a quick rundown of my recent reads:

The Wordy Shipmates and Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell - I've been on several reading kicks lately, meaning that I've found myself reading different books by the same author or different books about the same subject (more on this later). One of my recent finds has been Sarah Vowell. While she isn't everyone's cup of tea, I enjoy the wry humor she brings to any subject, and I definitely appreciate (and relate to) her complicated views on American history. The Wordy Shipmates tackles the story of the pilgrims, while Assassination Vacation is about her search for sites relating to presidential assassinations. If you are looking for a fun, thought-provoking, and educational read during the Thanksgiving holidays, either of these books would definitely fit the bill (and be seasonally appropriate, at least in the case of The Wordy Shipmates).

Finishing the Hat by Stephen Sondheim - I am an unabashed Sondheim nerd, and this book is AMAZING! I'm hoping to review it during the Thanksgiving break, but let me just tell you that, if you are a musical theatre aficiando, you need to get this book. Besides collecting the lyrics from Sondheim's early works (from Saturday Night to Merrily We Roll Along), the book includes some of Sondheim's original drafts as well as cut songs, essays on other lyricists, and explanations/information on the songs and shows.

Book Lust to Go by Nancy Pearl - I love Nancy Pearl, and when I received this book as part of LibraryThing's Early Reviewers Program, I was psyched. I haven't had a lot of time to read it over just yet, but my upcoming trip to Florida should provide the perfect opportunity to read and review it.

Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies and Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank - Inspired by Francine Prose's book about the diary, I've been reading a lot about Anne Frank and I have found that I appreciate her story and her writing so much more now than I did before. I also read a graphic novel biography of Anne Frank by Sid Jacobson, which I highly recommend.

Eden's Outcasts by John Matteson and Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen - Both books are excellent looks at the life of Louisa May Alcott, but I give the edge to Eden's Outcasts. This book offers a dual biography of Louisa and her father, Bronson Alcott, and knowing about Bronson makes Louisa's life that much more remarkable and understandable. Also, Reisen's book (or at least the advanced reader's copy that I read) had a few factual errors, mostly pertaining to Little Women. While these errors weren't major, they were distracting and made me question some of Reisen's authority about Louisa and her life.