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some books reviewed.

August 6, 2008

(image thanks to

★★★★★ It is almost impossible for me to overstate how much I loved this book. It pushes the boundaries between memoir and fantasy/fiction in plumbing the reaches of love gone unexamined and unfinished. Amy Benson is a poetess by nature, and her prose lilts in the same way to the ear, and speaks expansively of life, and intimately of land and the solitary spirit. A quick read, even for all of the underlining I did. Romantic, but not obnoxiously so. A real treat for anyone wanting to lay down in the luxury of words for a while and feel stirred by their beauty. Loved it!

★★★★ Marjane Satrapi is not a graphic memoirist from which we have heard the last. She gave an incredibly sincere and energetic interview on the Colbert Report weeks ago about the English release of the film adaptation of Persepolis and its sequel. The book is again a quick read. Don’t be afraid of the comic-book appearance, or deceptively simple dialogue, Satrapi grants indelible insights about the human spirit and the modern world through the eyes of a child in a war-torn country. She is endearing, to say the very least. And her work is terribly important.

★★★  I must say, I was really disappointed in this one.  The concepts of pansexuality, and sexual fluidity, particularly as they pertain to the female experience of sexual desire spanning a lifetime intrigued me, and sounded like a promising thesis.  However, I found little information in the book that I couldn’t infer from my own life experiences.  Rather, it became a list of clinical trials that proved what I already ‘knew’ to be true: women experience sexual desire far more fluidly than men do.  What I wanted to know was WHY, which i guess would come in another (several) volume(s).  Not a bad read, just not as enlightening as I had hoped.  More people should open themselves up to such clinically proven ideas.  I just don’t think I was the target reader.  Maybe someone who knew less about the subject, and was more statistically driven.

★★★★  Funny, heartwarming, anecdotal–GREAT.  This would not have been the type of memoir that I would casually pick up in a bookstore on my own.  However, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It’s funny, witty, and has an incredible dexterity in using extended metaphors to convey the extraordinary qualities of a seemingly ordinary life.  This is “a book for those that do not read books” as Mark says.  It’s a gem of lightheartedness, and coming-of-age absurdities.  Great read.

★★  I did not find this book helpful.  Although it gave some interesting prompts at the ends of chapters, the book was long on (what seemed to me to be obvious) points of making a good narrative, and short on opportunities for practical application.  I essentially ignored it, aside from the prompts.  Maybe for someone who has never thought out the successful ingredients of a book-length narrative, or has trouble cultivating their memories into palpable and interesting reading, it would prove helpful.  A definite stepping stone between blank word-processor page, and drawn-from-life anecdote.  Otherwise, use it as a doorstop or something.

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