My book selections were really all over the place in May. Sex, bureaucracy, and the apocalypse! Here's a quick rundown of what's been on page one of my Kindle this past month.
I'm embarrassed at having read this. Embarrassed for myself, for the author, and for humanity as a whole for rating this as a four-star book. I actually started reading this one more than two years ago while we were on the road to California. It was in the "top downloads" list on Amazon, so January downloaded the sample to our Kindle. The first chapter was a cute story from the author's childhood about walking in on her parents having sex, and it was admittedly pretty funny, so we went ahead and bought the rest of the book. Unfortunately, the rest of the book is a pretty raunchy depiction of the author's very involved and very depraved sex life from that point on. Don't get me wrong, I'm no prude, but this book is such a cringefest that the only response it left me with was embarrassment and pity for the author's sad, sad existence.
My Horizontal Life, by Chelsea Handler -
I can't believe I made it 34 years without reading this classic. To be honest, I think it's something about the classic cover art that turned me off. I'm glad I finally got around to it, though, and I was glad to learn that I'm not beyond being appalled by a story like this. It was so painful to read and I was left genuinely saddenned for most of the characters. Seriously, I was so sad reading about Piggy at the end of the book that it ruined my whole evening.
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding -
It really says something that I'm rating this one lower than My Horizontal Life. This is my second attempt at this book, and it's just awful. I know from cultural references to the book that it's supposed to be about the tedium and unfairness of bureaucracy, but really it's more about the self-important central character's inability to act even remotely like a normal human being or to handle his situation with even an ounce of humility. Ultimately, I got about 80% through this book before giving up. Given the fact that the author himself never actually finished this book, I don't feel too bad saying the same.
The Trial, by Franz Kafka -
This is the world's most optimistic book about the end of the world. As the entire northern hemisphere has already been depopulated at the hands of numerous atomic bombs, the rest of the world can only wait as the radiation slowly works its way south. And how do they deal with it? By looting, rioting, killing and generally going crazy? Nope. They have a few boat races, continue to do their jobs, and thoughtfully wait to see what happens. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a criticism -- I really enjoyed the story, I'm just not sure how realisitic it is. That aside, I became genuinely invested in the characters and had a strong respect for nearly everyone's sense of duty and propriety, right up to the end.
On the Beach, by Nevil Shute -