Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Summer Reading

Life is crazy. I just can't keep up. I probably won't be blogging much, but I will try to comment still on everyone else's blogs.

Last night I finished "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt. My mother gave it to me, and when I told LP's aunt I was reading it she said, "Ugh...how depressing." I usually don't take other people's reviews of books too seriously, and I am glad I didn't with this book. It was compelling to say the least.

My grandfather grew up poor with an alcoholic father, so there were many similarities between the two. At one point I knew my grandpa was shipped off to live on a farm with a distant relative when my great-grandmother was sent off to the sanatorium. If it weren't for the military, who knew where he would have ended up.

Right before he died, I was over at his house and discovered that he had all his pictures stuffed into shoeboxes of different sizes. I remember spending many nights going through pictures, trying to figure out who the faces were. My grandpa would laugh and say, "I can barely see them, and your grandma can't remember them!" The pictures were so interesting to me, and the stories he told about some of the faces were mesmerizing.

That's what Angela's Ashes brought back to me. It is pretty depressing, because he lived such a squallor life until he came to America. But I guess in essence it is also a success story, as he went on to be a teacher and author. It also reminded me of all the stories older people have to share, but few listen to.

After finishing the book, I went straight to my favorite innernet and Googled "Duplex Planet."

When I was in high school, my brother, who, as crazy as he is, always introduced me to the coolest stuff...Robert Crumb cartoons, Bob Dobbs, Toad the Wet Sprocket...he gave me a book of Duplex Planet for my birthday. I was completely enthralled.

"Duplex Planet" is an ongoing project by David Greenberger. He more or less listens to elderly people and gets their viewpoints on many different subjects. It is humorous, but it's also to show how much we take for granted those viewpoints and disregard such an integral demographic of our society.

It will make you laugh, and also make you miss those days with your grandparents, when they talked about walking to school uphill both ways in 10 feet of snow.

Now the next question is...what book do I read next???


J Bo said...

I just re-read all 6 of the Harry Potter books and literally moments ago a book called "The Happiest Baby on the Block."

Now I need another book to read, too!

Amy said...

I loved Angela's Ashes! HOw neat that it did for you!

I loved the part when he was bringing lunch to that man, and he couldn't help himself but eat it bit by bit. I must have read that part twelve times.

Effie said...

You could read the next book he wrote--a continuation called "'Tis". I listened to these books in the car on tape--and they were read by the author--so neat because when he referred to a song he actually sang it and with his lovely accent, you felt as though you were growing up with him. "'Tis" isn't as good as the first book but it is definitely the culmination of "Angela's Ashes". I LOVED Angela's Ashes and was often crying in the car and taking the long route to work just to hear more....