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Reading: Let's Play Catch-Up

It's summer! I have free time again! So let's catch up with my bookshelves, shall we?

This morning I finished reading The Girl With All The Gifts. I would describe this as the In-n-Out Burger of popular literature: it's general shape and flavor are familiar, but of unusually high quality, and therefore surprisingly satisfying. It's not doing anything new, it's just doing what it does well. And since it's a suspense-zombie-adventure novel, I found it really hard to put down. "A page-turner!"

Before that I read The Sellout by Paul Beatty, which gets points for being the cheekiest thing I'm going to read this year, I can already tell. I don't think I am qualified to say much more about it other than how much I liked its sense of place -- it's an L.A. book, but about parts of L.A. you hardly ever see (in fiction or otherwise).

Sometime before that I read Follow Me Into the Dark by Felicia Sullivan, a book about serial killers and generational trauma, written from a feminist perspective. Like many books about serial killers and/or generational trauma, it got a little lurid for my tastes somewhere in the middle -- not gross, just over-the-top-ish. It fixed itself later. It still does some gaudy tricksy things that feel a little unnecessary, but overall it was solid, and recommended to people who like unreliable narrators (hoo boy) and unstable narrative realities and the like.

Meanwhile, I read The Princess Bride aloud to my children. They had mixed feelings, but mostly overall positive. As for me, it was on this re-read that I noticed that the whole "good bits" abridgment schtick is partly a commentary on Les Miserables, where the plot is the thinnest stuff necessary to get you through big blocks of other material, and that those big blocks aren't "digressions," they're the meat of the book, to Hugo anyway. The "plot" is just connective tissue.

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