Book of the Month: June.

Book of the Month for June.

 

What to say about this book.  The thought continually occurs to me that it is because I have a great grasp of and appreciation for modern literature that I enjoyed this book.  Simply put, upon finishing this novel, I can say that it is perhaps my favorite book to date.  The plot, a family reunion for one last Christmas together, is simple enough, but the way that Jonathan Franzen frames the lives of the characters within the book is stunning to behold.  The characters all have vividly different lives that they live out, but their link back home to their parents seems to give them even more multi-faceted lifestyles and personalities than have already arisen from their circumstances.  Franzen’s writing style is something that I found myself consciously admiring much more than once throughout the read, and I aspire to achieve his level of accomplishment in describing the middle-class life’s ins and outs.  The story had its humorous moments, intensely immoral yet fascinating pitfalls, and moving scenes of a family wrought in five parts attempting to reconcile.  If you have the time and the willingness to take on the baggage of the darker underbelly of living in modern society, I definitely suggest reading this book.

And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks.

And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks
            Latest read.

I picked this book up at the UCen Bookstore at UCSB a while back, but never really got around to willing myself to read it all the way through.  Given the inordinate amount of time I had on the Amtrak today, however, I used three hours’ worth of time to read the book cover to cover.  Having been exposed to a little bit of the culture from Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem, it wasn’t as shocking of a read as it might’ve been had I not been adequately prepared for the times.  It’s a pretty interesting read of the David Kammerer murder event told by Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, each of whom are characters within the book (Mike Ryko and Will Dennison).  The main takeaway that I had from the book was the power of image, and how each of the characters was really consumed with the image they were presenting, going from the costumes they donned to the places they were seen at – all of these affected their image.  Definitely a very quick read, but it was well worth the time, in my opinion, for a glimpse into the culture of Kerouac and Burroughs and Ginsberg.