Monthly Roundup: January 2016

I think I would like to do something a little different with monthly roundups this year, namely: listing and discussing (if I care to discuss) the stared rating I gave each book. It should be easily digested and absorbed, like a Flintstones vitamin.

Here’s what I read in January.

4979Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut – 4/5 Stars
I liked this. It was written during the Bush administration, and Vonnegut was really P.O.’d about this. Reading it was like watching old Daily Show episodes.


Saga, Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples – 4/5 Stars
I really like Saga and I haven’t been able to put my finger entirely on the reason why, except the characters are interesting and it’s sorta feminist.


13590613Work by Thich Nhat Hanh – 3/5 Stars
Or: Whatever Cubicle You’re In, There You Are. This was okay. I wish I had a monk for a friend. So much of what they say is just so sweet and silly.

Mothers, Tell Your Daughters by Bonnie Jo Campbell – 5/5 Stars – Reviewed in detail here



Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine – 5/5 Stars
I loved this. It’s a graphic short story collection. It is funny and sad with a calming suburban lack of pretense.

You by Caroline Kepnes – 4/5 Stars – Reviewed in detail here.


American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang – 5/5 Stars
I liked this graphic novel a lot, too, but maybe more in an intellectual way. If I were a high school English teacher, this would be required reading.




The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender – 3/5 Stars
I like Aimee Bender’s short stories (like in Willful Creatures), and I wanted to love this novel, but I didn’t. It was okay. The magical realism often falls flat.



Currently reading at the time of writing: The Heart by Maylis de Kerangal, which I will probably review soon.


“I really don’t know what I’m going to become from now on. I’m simply along for the ride to see what happens to this body and brain of mine. I’m startled that I became a writer. I don’t think I can control my life or my writing. Every other writer I know feels he is steering himself, and I don’t have that feeling. I don’t have that sort of control. I’m simply becoming.” – Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

“In the Buddhist tradition, a hungry ghost is a spirit with a big belly who is always hungry. Although their bellies have plenty of room, they can’t eat much because they only have a narrow throat, the size of a needle, so their capacity to swallow food is very small. Due to their tiny throats, they can never eat their fill; they’re never satisfied. We can use this image to describe the way people are when they are hungry for love and understanding, and yet their capacity to receive love and understanding is very small. You have to help bring the size of their throat back to normal before they can swallow the food that you offer.” – Thich Nhat Hanh, Work



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