When I'm not busy embodying the Red Sox by lamenting Alex Rodriguez, or riding my coveted green bicycle through the treacherous streets of North Oakland, I'm usually catching up on a great book. There's nothing better than warming up with a good book, a great cat, and chocolate soy milk.
...And here is some more inspiration.
*** August 2011 Newsletter Pick ***
I loved Kevin Henkes even before I read Kitten's First Full Moon -- and this book propelled me into full-blown Henkes obsession. It's the tale of a kitten who's convinced that the moon is actually a big bowl of milk suspended in the sky, and she's determined to make it hers. She tries everything she can think of to reach that perfect, round, smooth bowl of milk. Kitten learns a hard lesson, but luckily she has an owner who loves her. There's something so calm and reassuring about this book; Kitten's adventurous spirit and innocence take the fear out of darkness and nighttime.
*** June 2011 Newsletter Pick ***
This is the classic "gorilla meets and falls in love with an innocent creature only to drive said creature away with its fiery temper" story. However, the most impressive aspect of this book is not the storyline but the illustrations. As depicted by Browne, it is excruciatingly sad when the lonely, innocent-faced gorilla communicates, through sign language, "I want a friend." Browne has an incredible talent for capturing the raw emotion of loneliness -- and, eventually, joy, fear, and regret. At first Beauty, the kitten the gorilla wants to befriend, is a reluctant companion, but in no time the pair do everything together. Luckily the story has a happy twist at the end -- otherwise I don't think I would be able to look at the gorilla's honest face without tearing up.
This book took me a long time to finish reading and I think that is why I suggest it. The stories of Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese refugee, are heartbreaking and, at times, overwhelming. Deng's positive and humble attitude, considering the trauma he experienced at such a young age, is inspirational. Lastly, the proceeds from the book go to Deng's foundation, which provides money to help the refugees and to rebuild Sudan.
This book pretty much sums up my life and I highly recommend it to anyone who knows what a cat is. It is that good.
You know an author is good when he can engage you in a subject you would never otherwise consider. For me, that subject was basketball. Who knew Gilbert Arenas was so interesting? IV is a collection of articles Klosterman has written over the years on various pop culture icons, and he somehow makes every one of them interesting. Even Britney Spears.
I love stories that leave absolutely no loose ends. In Holes, Sachar goes above and beyond this by meticulously weaving together the story of Stanley Yelnats, an unlucky young boy whose cursed no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather has somehow landed him in Camp Green Lake, a boys detention center, where he is forced to dig holes all day in the blistering heat. This is a story where absolutely nothing is random and everything is carefully connected. I recommend it for both children and adults; it is one of the most carefully thought through stories I have read.
The top four reasons you should read this book, in no particular order: 1. The lovable, surly Barry, who sings in a band tentatively titled 'Sonic Death Monkey.' 2. If you have ever been in a relationship, you can relate to Rob's attempt to understand his current break-up by analyzing all of his past relationships. 3. The characters compare their ideas for best songs in various situations. Then they make fun of each other. 4. You will understand why I made this recommendation in list format.
American Psycho is one of my favorite books. There are numerous reasons why I think this is strange, namely I don't spend my nights at trendy NYC clubs desperately hunting down cocaine, or waste hours analyzing which of my friends has the most impressive business card and why, or have vivid fantasies (or realities...who knows?) about chopping people up and keeping them in my freezer. Patrick Bateman does and, for some reason, I can intimately understand his psyche. Ellis's exploration into and presentation of the mind of a serial killer is eerily realistic, even if it is fiction.