A People’s History, The Dark Materials, Becoming Jane Austen

Very recently I began a journey that many others were already on. Person after person kept mentioning the same book to me that they were very hungrily reading. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, you ask? No, indeed not. (Besides, I read that the night it came out like the crazy, sleep-deprived maniac I was.) No, instead it is Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. I decided to fully understand the history madness, I needed to read it immediately, albeit it in very slow, sporadically read pieces. To be blatantly honest, I'm only on chapter three and so easily distracted by all the books I have to read, the books I want read, and the books that aren't even published yet that I'm reading, to read it all in one gulp like I usually prefer...but I will prevail!

In the meantime, I've read The Dark Materials trilogy, which I recommend completely to anyone looking to escape into another world. I'm actually very much surprised it did so well due to the questioning nature of it towards the Church and Heaven that rose throughout. But perhaps there was hoopla and I just missed it during the original publication. But it was phenomenal and addictive. Not addictive in that manic Harry Potter sort of way, but you definitely wanted to find out what happens and really feel for the characters...even the somewhat evil ones.

Meanwhile I'm very excited at the moment about Tin House's Issue 32, "Hot and Bothered" has a veritable feast of fiction, non-fiction, and randomness going on right now. I especially suggest checking out the New Voice Fiction from Daniel Menasche, "We Just Came up from San Francisco" and Irina Reyn's piece on Anastasya Verbitskaya...but these are only to start...really you should read the whole issue.

Also, I recently read Becoming Jane Austen after falling completely in love with the film. Until reading it I didn't know much of her life though I knew she was unmarried and had read all of her completed novels and some of her unfinished. It's kind of sad that really most of her work was published during such a short interlude in her life, shortly before her death. It makes you wonder in her case as well as many other writers of the time, what else they might have been creating in their minds that never made it to paper.

And in other news, I tried and failed miserably at reading F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and the Damned. Really, I will just always love The Great Gatsby best.

--Vicki Lame

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