on the shelf: the first quarter

The way I have done books on here has evolved quite a bit. I never find a format that I really like or that I can do quickly and consistently. Since I'm doing the 50 book challenge this year, I thought that maybe I could do a round-up of the books each month. Actually, I can't really take credit for that idea. Matt reads an insane amount (he's knocked out 48 books this year!) so he was coming up with better ways to keep track of his reading. That was one of them. I am a little behind, in my reading and keeping track of that on here. Every time I sit down to do it, I come up with something else to blog about. Not today. I will finish this.

My last post touched a little upon my reading of Factotum by Charles Bukowski. This was my second Bukowski novel, the first being Post Office. It's hard for me to describe why I thoroughly enjoy reading Bukowski. I just do. Chinaski isn't necessarily a character that was created to be likeable. As the reader, you're just along for the ride.
Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson was another fairly gritty read. Once again, you're along for the ride. These stories are told as if you're the barfly of some dive this guy is just traveling through. Denis Johnson has a different command of the English language than Bukowski does (topics are similar, that's why I bring up this difference). I enjoy both of their styles of writing. It made for reading such similar topics of addiction and hopelessness back to back interesting.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is a love it or hate it book. I knew the ending. Whatever. I suspended my knowledge and plowed through this thing in a couple of days. I can't wait to see how certain elements occur in movie-form.
I own and have yet to read Damned, which I was dumb and didn't realize preceded the latest release Doomed by Chuck Palahniuk. It was fairly easy to follow along. Damn, I was on a gritty kick for a while. I made a lot of horrifying faces while reading this book, but Chuck Palahniuk does that to me. He seriously can make me want to puke with the way he describes everything so vividly. All in all, I really enjoyed it, though not for the faint of heart.
Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes was pretty awesome. A time traveling serial killer. I mean, seriously! I needed something new to read, perused Matt's e-books and was immediately hooked. it was very enjoyable. I don't want to give things away, but I think the time traveling serial killer angle should draw some curious readers. They do describe the deaths, yes, but it seriously is very interesting.
I thoroughly enjoyed this year's Best American Essays edited by Cheryl Strayed. I like reading one star reviews because I tend to feel the opposite of them. I really enjoyed this collection. Very inspiring and my favorite of the Best American series this year.
When I found out BJ Novak had written a collection of short stories, I was intrigued. One More Thing is a wonderful collection of funny and thoughtful stories. They are of varying lengths, which I have learned I enjoy a lot. As a fan of The Office, I knew I would love it. If you don't know, BJ Novak was a writer and actor on the show. He did not disappoint me and I cannot wait to own this.
Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell makes history fun. History is enjoyable, but I feel as though these points in American history are talked out to the point where one has to wonder,"What else is there?"Quite a bit, actually, as Vowell explores different locations significant in three presidential assassinations. She punctuates these essays with little anecdotes about her sister and nephew, who were dragged along on this wild ride. Interesting American history punctuated by funny personal stories? Yes, please.
A little warning about Tampa by Alissa Nutting: the paperback cover is a little...wow, and the book itself is very explicit. You are inside the mind of a hot young female teacher, set on seducing one of her young, thirteen year old students. It's insane. It's clear, though, that from her thought process, she knows what she is doing is wrong, but makes it clear that this isn't something that will go away. This sexual predator behavior is an illness. This character makes that very clear. The urges will keep coming back unless she does something to sate them. Even then, though, they'll come back again and again. How does one fix this psychologically? If you can get past the initial discomfort, on a psychological level, this book is very fascinating.

I've had this in my drafts for the last few days. I thought I'd post what I have now, finish up the rest of my reviews to add on to my April round-up. Writing short reviews is very difficult when I have so much to say about each book.

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