Wednesday, May 27, 2009

my reads

now that lovely weather is drawing us all outside and gives reason to lounge by the poolside, beach, or plastic flamingos planted in your front may be time to feed your grey matter with some literary soup.
in my case, limited access to nightly TV has rendered much more time to pound through some fantastic books. below are 5 (yes count them 5) that i have read within the last month and a half. i have never read so many in pages in one brief period in all my life. 4 of the 5 were all wonderful recommendations, and the classic "catcher..." is one i have struggled to read for sometime now...and ended up liking very much. muchly...muchly much.

extremely loud and incredibly close: beautiful story of a quirky 9 yr old boy who is suffering from the loss of his father who died in the 911 tragedy. to revisit this horrific event by such an artistic medium and to be able to emotionally connect with a real character such as Oskar came to be a refreshing and rewarding experience. i am so glad to know the author took this perspective without exploiting the tragic events, and rather gave a poetic touch to our individual memories of that black occurrence in american history.
also, the use of visual elements in combination with the written text of this story delivers a very profound and unique way of "seeing" from the combination of traditional book method and our mind's eye.

the history of love: grabbed me immediately. i found myself laughing time and time again at the main character Leo. this book is a beautiful read for anyone that has felt love, (in other words we can all relate to it). love between man and woman, love of a young girl towards her grieving mother and the loss of her father, love of friendship and longing for companionship. young love. mature love. its all there, love in all its forms. don't get me wrong, it's not crazy sappy, but rather it's real and honest.
fantastic read.

i tried to read this book 3 other times in my life, and could never get beyond 50 pages or so. i couldn't stand the whiney voice of Holden Caulfield, the kid just irritated me about how damn negative he was...but something told me to keep reading. i grew to really liking this book and by the last page of the story i really had learned to love Holden and all his faults. the book is a coming of age story, a classic that all of you have probably already read, but if you haven't - do it. it taught me to be patient. and not so quick to make judgements of people...all walks...even punk teens. :) ....holden i learned is struggling to let go and move on. to walk away from his idyllic childhood and to move into the "phony" real world of adulthood. there are beautiful pages where we see the clouds of confusion he is surrounded in part and he is left to sob at the beauty of acceptance of change and growing up. read it. read it again.

blindness: what if the world was caught in an epidemic of blindness? what classes of societies would still exists? what level of prejudices would remain? what would mankind become or evolve to? imagine you and everyone else blind. seriously, think about it. this books allows you to witness the possible destruction of all man. it is the crumbling of cities, and races, and genders, stripping it to the bare essentials - food and water is the new gold and riches. we are reminded of what is really important, and what immediate free gifts we are blessed with (sight, sound, touch, food, modern medicine and hygiene, running water...just think what it'd be like without one of these.)
warning: there is a horrid section in this book...not easy on the classic man vs. woman dominance scenario...if you know what i mean.

the time travelers wife: enjoyable journey. the book has a praised line for it that says something along the lines of "if you think you have read every possible love story, think again" and thats pretty true. it takes a classic love story of a couple and throws a major monkey wrench in it called "chrono displacement disorder" or as we all know, time travel. the man suffers from time travel, and what we think may be a fun and eventful disorder we learn how isolating and damaging it could be to an individual. how could one really function if by no choice they are sucked out of time and dropped into another time. this doesn't get cheezy with him traveling to the wild west, and then the dawn of man, and then the future of living on all stays relevant to traveling within his own time line of sorts. he visits his childhood, he visits his future wife as when she is a child, and so on. like i said, fun enjoyable journey, it had me thinking "what if i could go back and visit my past...or see my future?"
the author did irritate more than any other author before however, i felt she kept sticking in her vast knowledge of early punk music, or her educated palette of foods, she kept pulling me out of the story with this junk...just gets a little too pretentious if you know what i mean...but hey, it's her first novel and it was made into a movie that will be out this fall...not too bad i guess.


Melissa said...

Looks like we have similar taste in books. The Catcher in the Rye is one of my all time favorites. I've read it 5 times, I think. I've also read Blindness. Whoa. I'll take note of the others you're reading and check them out. Thanks for sharing, Duston. Really enjoyed your last engagement session by the way. The simple, real one.

Kiera said...

You have put me in the mood to read. A few of these have been on my list for a while. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on them.

I have had Blindness in my possession for a long while but that horrid scene you mentioned is what has kept me from entering into it. You think I should anyway?

loren weltsch said...

Thank you for the wonderful images! Your works inspires me.
I have a book to recommend - just finished reading The Book Thief'. Very good read!

duston todd said...

kiera...yeah, read it. if you can manage to skip the paragraph you're all the better off. seriously, it's like a sickening paragraph, maybe just a few sentences even...but it shocked me. i thought "seriously? are you really going to put that into a book and print it to the masses?"
yes, read it. it grabbed me quickly and i read it in maybe a week.

loren...i'll have to look into that one.
right now i am reading "the brief wondrous life of oscar wao". thanks for the recommendation!

Emily said...

Loved both "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" and "The Time Traveler's Wife." I'll have to check out the rest of your picks!

Jesse Draper said...


We're finally in San Francisco and I'm itching to read your recommendations:

the curious incident of the dog in the night time.

fight club


no country for old men.
I miss talking to you man.
How the heck are ya?

Duston Todd said...

glad to hear SF has welcomed you with open arms...i'm very jealous...perhaps in another life. :)

i done just finished another book i reckon..."the brief wondrous life of oscar wao" yes, another great book. the author has a sharp tongue and doesn't sugar coat anything. but when it came time to read the last page and the book was closed i walked away understanding the reason for the sharpness. plus, i love dominicans and found a lot of enjoyment in the truth of their culture.
take a stab at it perhaps.

yesterday i read "hamlet" for the first time, picked up a book at barnes and noble that has Shakespearean written in plain english. i have always loved that story, but couldn't connect all the dots. good read, and definitely my favorite of Shakespeare.
now...i am onto "great expectations". it is my favorite movie, and has been for a decade or so, but i've held back on reading it dicken's style...but since i've read so much of this century's type literate it's time for a different pace and goes nothing....

Duston Todd said...


p.s. i think we're ready to have you start rolling on Ava's portrait. i'll follow up soon.

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