What I've been reading... - The Dainty Squid

What I've been reading...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

After that last batch of books that kind of really really stunk, I was dreading reading anything else. Sometimes I feel like I've hit a brick wall with the books I like. Even though I've certainly branched out in my reading when it comes right down to it I still am a very picky reader. So when the last four books I read didn't excite me I started to think "okay, I've read everything that appeals to me, back to rereading Palahniuk." Nooope. These last five books reignited my passion for reading.
What I've been reading...
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
The Undead by Dick Teresi
As Nature Made Him by Joe Colapinto
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides
She's Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan

As always, the worst first - The Undead. So, really this wasn't a terrible book. I just felt like it was really slow to begin with. I drug my heels through the first half of the book then it really picked up and I flew through the rest of it. It's about how modern medicine is blurring the line between life and death. I'm not sure I'd recommend it due to the very slow start and obviously opinionated, instead of simply reported, style of writing. It should also be noted that there are lots of claims that this book is riddled with fictitious statements.

I already had a good idea of how As Nature Made Him went since I'd already seen the documentary but decided to read the book as well. In 1967, after a twin baby boy suffered a botched circumcision, his family agreed to a radical treatment that would alter his gender. It's a heartbreaking book and absolutely interesting look at the age old nature versus nurture debate.

From the remaining three, I cannot choose a favorite. I adored them all. Let's start with Girl, Interrupted. I had a good feeling I'd like the book since the movie is one of my favorites (although that's not always the case. Wanna know a secret I feel super guilty about? I like Fight Club the movie and thousand times more than Fight Club the book.) I tore through the book in no time at all. I definitely recommend it, whether you've seen the movie or not!

Another book I had already seen the movie for, The Virgin Suicides. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from the book. When I saw the movie the first time I wasn't all that into it, it just didn't grab my attention but this wasn't the case with the book. I couldn't put it down.

She's Not There was EXCELLENT, easily one of the best things I've read in a while. It was a book that immediately drew me in and I had to finish it in the same day. She's Not There is Jennifer Finney Boylan's story of transforming from the male she was born as to the woman she always was. I adored Jennifer's writing. I literally cannot recommend this book highly enough.
What have you been reading lately?
xoxo

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50 thoughts

  1. I was just thinking which movie I should watch and you gave me great idea with "Girl,interupted". Thanks :)

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  2. Glad to hear you've got the reading bug back! And especially glad you loved The Virgin Suicides. Jeffrey Eugenides is my favourite author (which is why I'm always so angry he's only written 3 novels!) and I can hugely recommend Middlesex if you're looking for something to read next - it's really great.

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    1. A while back someone sent me Middlesex but I have yet to touch it. Guessing it should be my next book to read!

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  3. i so admire how much you read. i am slogging my way through the goldfinch. it's not that the writing isnt good, its just the plot that is moving a little slow for my taste

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    1. Then quit reading! Life is short, read things you love!

      (I don't take my own advice but seriously, reading things you're not enjoying is silly!)

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  4. I used to be a bit of a book snob and only read Palahniuk until I started reading Anne Rice's novels. This list looks very interesting though... I'm going to have to pick these up!

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  5. I think you'd love the rest of Jeffrey Eugenides' books as well. I found Middlesex better than TVS!! This month I snagged a bunch of books from a friend, halfway through Beloved by Toni Morrison.

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    1. Really? A while back someone sent me Middlesex but I have yet to touch it. Guessing it should be my next book to read due to the high number of recommendations!

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    2. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!! I was a little dissapointed by The Marriage Plot. I hope you get the dentistry books I sent soon!!! I keep finding more at thrift shops and it's difficult not buy all of them and ship em off!!

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  6. I've been reading a ton of Norse mythology, I can't get enough at the moment ^_^ these look like some great reads!

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  7. Thanks for the input, Kaylah! I always enjoy hearing others insights into books. I've read three of these five books and can only echo your sentiments about Virgin Suicides. I've reread it a few times over the past six years, and it never fails to entrance me. Have you delved into any of Eugenides' other texts? If not, I highly suggest The Marriage Plot followed by Middlesex. And thanks for the suggestion; She's Not There is now on my to-read list!

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  8. Of these I've read As Nature Made Him and Girl, Interrupted and loved both! I've been meaning to get around to The Virgin Suicides as well, but am taking a brief stab at trying to read fiction (ugh... so hard for me to do...).

    The non-fiction books I've read recently are The Ordinary Acrobat and What Should We Be Worried About? Both pretty good, although the latter is a really simple collection of short blurbs by some scientists.

    Elyse @ Cuddly as a Cactus

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    1. Haha, right?! I'm just not a huge fiction fan. It's great in small doses though.

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  9. Sweet picks! I love pretty much everything Jeffrey Eugenides has written (short of his latest book which was still ok). Have you read his short story Baster? I remember reading it shortly after the Virgin Suicides and thinking it was creepy as hell but then it was made into a 'romantic comedy' called The Switch. Heh. I've been looking for a good memoir for awhile- will definitely add She's Not There to my to-reads.

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  10. I'm pretty sure most of us enjoyed Fight Club the movie more than the book - I know I did! Not saying the book was bad, but, you know...hahah.

    Natalie,
    http://natalie-patalie.blogspot.com/

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    1. Even Chuck Palahniuk liked the movie better haha.
      http://www.dvdtalk.com/interviews/chuck_palahniuk.html

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  11. I read "Girl, Interrupted" before I saw the movie, and I was entirely obsessed with it, so the movie really disappointed me. I didn't like the creative liberties they took. But I love Susanna Kaysen's account. Have you read "Middlesex"? Another Jeffery Eugenides novel, in my opinion way better than "Virgin Suicides." And also deals with gender issues, like "She's Not There," which I really want to read now.

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  12. The virgin suicides book is so so so much better than the movie. Eugenides is def one of my favorite authors, you should check out his book Middlesex. I've just finished The coldest girl in cold town and the 19th wife. Both were good!

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  13. I liked Fight Club the movie better too :) No shame, it was an excellent adaptation! You should check out Susanna Kaysen's "The Camera my Mother gave me" if you haven't already. Great little book. Good selection! Will be looking up some of the others!

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    1. Thanks, I will! I really loved her writing so I'm definitely interested in reading more!

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  14. I read the book Fight Club after seeing the movie prior, and I don't like any one more than the other, but I will say that they both have very distinct atmospheres to them. The book feels a lot darker and grungier, but the movie and the actors in it definitely breathe life into the characters and the story as well. (I am terrible at comparing movies to the books because I tend to like them both!)

    Girl, Interrupted is an intense favorite of mine. I could relate a lot with the mental disorder aspect of the story (I was really troubled when I read it for the first time), and it helped me through my recovery when I had to go to a mental treatment facility. It helped me not feel so alone!

    Kaylah, I have a question for you! If you had to pick a few off the top of your head, which would be your favorite non-fiction books you've read ever? (If you can't pick just a few, I understand!) I'm just curious and asking everyone I know so I can add to my "list". ;)

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  15. I've been reading a book lately that I think you would really dig, Civilwarland in Bad Decline by George Saunders. It's compiled of short stories and one novella, I just finished the short stories this morning and they are so good! His writing is really funny, and odd, and his stories include things like amusement parks, jar babies, and daydreaming; which is why I thought of recommending it to you. This is the first book of his I've read but I'm looking forward to more.
    Also, have you read any of Jan Bondeson's books? My favorite is Two headed Boy and Other Medical Marvels, it talks about stone babies.

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    1. I second the George Saunders recommendation. Especially "Civilwarland..." - that was my favorite. His dark sense of humor is spot-on. Kelly, have you read the short story "Sea Oak" in the book Pastoralia"?

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  16. I can never decide which I prefer most, I love Fight Club equally as the book and as the movie. I'm kind of like that with Fear and Loathing too. I love the Virgin Suicides and Girl, Interrupted I should definitely get my hands on the books.

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  17. I've read both Girl, Interrupted and The Virgin Suicides and I really enjoyed them both. Loved reading about your latest reads! I'm currently reading Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness, which is the third book in the Chaos Walking triology, and some Hans Christian Andersen fairytales!

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  18. I didn't even know Girl, Interrupted was a book. Though, nearly all of the greatest storyline films are based on novels [: I usually dislike reading after I have seen the film, but I must give this one a try as I loved the film so much. Thank you for this post [:

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  19. I love the Virgin Suicides and I've just bought myself Girl, Interrupted so I can re-read it. Both amazing books. I'm actually the same with Fight Club. I love the movie and when I eventually got round to reading the book I just didn't really like it as much. Maybe seeing the movie too many times made it hard to beat!

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    1. Yeah, I feel like seeing Fight Club upward of 50 times before reading it might have been the issue for me. Hah!

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  20. Just read As Nature Made Him and I have Girl Interrupted coming up soon - you might like the Good Nurse (true story), which I thought was great.

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    1. Uh, yes! The Good Nurse sounds perfect for me.

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  21. Definitely going to pick up "she's not there". Sounds very interesting.

    Me? I am reading reading a book on one of your presidents, Thomas Jefferson. Doesn't sound very exciting but it is actually an interesting read.

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  22. I somehow always link the Virgin Suicides and Girl, Interupted in my head. Perhaps because both movies were amazing?!
    Anyway, Eugenides is one of my favorite authors, though I have to admit I haven't read this one yet. Did enjoy the Marriage Plot though and Middlesex is one of my favorite books ever<3

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  23. Girl, Interrupted was an amazing movie, I'd love to read the book!

    <3
    Harlynn
    mindyourmadness.blogspot.com

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  24. I felt the same way about the Virgin Suicides (movie) so I never gave the book much thought, but maybe I will now! Also feel the same way about Fight Club. The movie is both visually exciting and somewhat nostalgic for me! I love the book, but Fight Club is probably always going to be one of my favorite movies ever!

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    1. Definitely do, the book is SO much more interesting than the movie. I actually rewatched the Virgin Suicides after finishing the book and still feel like it's lacking somehow.

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  25. Not read or even heard of any of these but I think I will check out the last 3 you mentioned as they sound really good. However they will be on hold for a while as I have 20 or so to read before...
    Lauren | OhHay Blogs!
    xxx

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  26. I'm glad to see you read She's Not There and enjoyed it. My wife is a transwoman and I recommend that book to people who are looking for another personal account of what being trans is like. :)

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  27. I adore Girl, Interrupted both film and book. I'll have to check out She's Not There now :)

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  28. I liked As Nature Made him too, and now I want to read She's Not there! You might like Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers by Cris Beam. She goes to LA and tells the story of a bunch of inner city/low income transpeople. It's really good, I've read it twice!

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  29. Hello Kaylah!
    Have you ever read any of Chelsea Handler's books? I never really had an opinion of her or knew a lot about her, but a friend read all her books and recommended them to me. All of her books are ridiculously hilarious (she is completely insane), but you should definitely consider reading My Horizontal Life. It's basically her talking about all the one night stands she's had (which is A LOT) and all the awkward situations she's found herself in as a result. It's pretty much pee yourself funny. At least to me. Happy reading!

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    1. No, I haven't. But a book about one night stands sounds totally in the realm of things I would love. I'll definitely look into it!

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  30. If you like short stories, I recommend Alissa Nutting, Gary Lutz, Manuel Gonzoles, and Karen Russell. Some great reads.

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  31. These look like great reading selections. I'm thinking about reading The Virgin Suicides and Girl, Interrupted now.

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  32. With The Virgin Suicides I first read the book and then immediately watched the movie and I love them book. It still haunts me!

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  33. I love how books create this self portrait of yourself somehow. Purely to how to relate to them, feel excited by them, or simply by how their perception of the world makes you feel something!

    If you enjoyed these books I would recommend.

    Just Kids - Patti Smith (this book had a huge impact on my life - it made me quit my bum out job and fight for something I feel passionate about)

    Christopher Hitchens - morality

    Jonathan Safran foer - eating animals

    The camera my mother gave me - susanna kaysen

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    1. Awesome, thanks for the recommendations! :)

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  34. I heard a lot of people saying good things about The Virgin Suicides and now you it's the next book I'm going to read I'm so excited to read it

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  35. Very interested that you read Virgin Suicides instead of Middlesex when it seemed like you were on a little bit of an intersex kick! It takes a while to get to the life of the intersex character (or say like...300 pages). But it's still relevant haha. Definitely going to check out She's Not There.

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  36. I really want to read Girl Interrupted, thanks for the reminder. I just finished reading Gone Girl - didn't end how I wanted!! X

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