At the end of June, suddenly everyone was posting their half-way stats: what they loved, hated, and how many books they read. I totally missed that (it’s late July now), but figured I could do something similar by trying out the Six in Six 2018 edition. I’d never heard of this meme until I saw it on Fiction Fan’s blog. The meme was started by The Book Jotter, who has been doing Six in Six since 2012.
What is it all about?
Share 6 books in 6 categories, or, if time is of the essence, then share just 6 books. Whatever combination works for you as long as it involves 6 books. Of course, the same book can obviously feature in more than one category. You can find the categories at The Book Jotter’s post.
Okay, here I go! I’ll link any reviews applicable.
Six books I abandoned
I’m with Leah on this one; life is too short to read shit books (though she wouldn’t say “shit”). Here are six books I just couldn’t finish:
- Slouching Toward Bethlehem by Joan Didion. Apparently a classic, though I found it poorly planned and executed. The author admits as much in the introduction.
- Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence. Maybe I technically finished this book, though I know I skipped a ton.
- Mighty Be Our Powers by Leymah Gbowee. A memoir that claimed to be about how sex changed the war in Liberia, though the author refused to talk about sex.
- Fra Keeler by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi. Okay, the sentences made sense, but nothing else did. I didn’t even read enough to write a review.
- As If A Bird Flew By Me by Sara Greenslit. The sentences didn’t go together. Nothing added up. A bit of word soup at times.
- What Begins with Bird by Noy Holland. Again, abandoned really fast; I had a phase about 7 years ago when I bought lots of experimental books because everyone else in my writing program did, too. Turns out, if I can’t read it, I’m not reading it.
Six books I have read but not reviewed
- Lenore, The Cute Little Dead Girl by Roman Dirge. This is a re-read for me, a book in a series I simply enjoy and don’t feel like reviewing, though I do recommend it.
- Black No More by George S. Schuyler. A satire published in 1931 that I didn’t review because there’s a lot of racy racist stuff in there that’s meant to be social commentary, but would be challenging to navigate.
- Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks. This is the play I’m stage managing. Since we’re digging in so much for the acting, I would end up doing a literary analysis instead of a review if I tried.
- A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. Simply put, because I don’t review books by men on Grab the Lapels (obviously I still read them, I just don’t review them here), I didn’t review Bryson’s book.
- Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. I would have loved to review this series of comics narratives, but the large sections on depression were too personal, and I didn’t want to go there.
- Erratic Fire, Erratic Passion edited by Pasha Mala and Jeff Parker. These guys take quotes from athletes and turn them into poems. The poems are fantastic, funny, and illuminating. I taught this book in my creative writing class this spring and didn’t review it because we were creating poems, not judging quality.
Six books I was disappointed with
- Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. Reads more like a transcript of a college classroom than a memoir about talking with girls in Tehran about books.
- Losing It by Lindsay Rech Faith. I called this book a piece of garbage, and I stand by that.
- Daddy’s by Lindsay Hunter. The stories tried to be too “edgy.” I got exhausted by the emphasis on hooking up.
- Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Things were funny when Henry was around, but often he was not. And where were the Gothic elements? I should have read Udolpho instead.
- No Bed of Roses by Joan Fontaine. A life-long victim and name-dropper of the elite.
- Fat Bodyguards by Marita Fowler. A bit one dimensional, the magic was lost by sending the characters to Mexico. Head back to Nitro, WV!
Six new authors to me
- Julie Murphy — her novel Dumplin’ took me back to high school and depicted fat people with dignity.
- Janet Mock — she shared her transformation from being identified at birth as a boy to an upwardly-mobile woman in Redefining Realness.
- Loung Ung — I read First They Killed My Father, the first book in her trilogy about growing up during the Cambodian Genocide.
- April Sinclair blew me away with first Coffee Will Make You Black and then Ain’t Gonna Be the Same Fool Twice, both of which I read this year.
- Billie Letts — she’s been around for a while and even had one of her novels made into a movie, but The Honk and Holler Opening Soon was new to me.
- Hilary Mantel is super famous, but I read her for the first time in 2018. I mostly enjoyed her memoir Giving Up the Ghost.
Six authors I have read before
- Katie MacAlister and I are old pals, seeing how I found A Girl’s Guide to Vampires when I was 18. I’ve since read many in the Dark Ones series, including Even Vampires Get the Blues in 2018.
- Mary Brown’s book The Unlikely Ones was assigned in my science fiction and fantasy class in college. I was 19 or 20. This year I finished the quartet.
- Cris Mazza I first read in 2009. This year I read Your Name Here: _________.
- I read Meg Tuite’s short fictions Disparate Pathos in 2012. This year I read another collection, Domestic Apparition.
- Leesa Cross-Smith reached out and sent me a copy of her fiction collection in 2015. This year I read her new novel, Whiskey & Ribbons.
Six books that I had one or two problems with but am still glad I tried
- Meaty by Samantha Irby had a knack for making me feel bad about myself when Irby was cruel to her body, but overall her style is so funny.
- Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston. All the academic “extras” weigh the book down, but Kossola’s story still shines.
- Hometown by Michele Feltman Strider had some racist/homophobic moments that are true to the setting but felt . . . off-putting in 2018. I still loved Sharon’s journey and was drawn in by the story.
- The Secret Life of Objects by Dawn Raffel was a cool idea — flash non-fiction — but the images were distracting.
- Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes by Sue Watson was a delight. Except every time she mentioned the normal-sized main character need to lose weight. I argue one could cross those sentences out and have a fantastic book.
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas had great characters and a meaningful plot, but it is way too long/repetitive and hampered by being in first-person.