This Week, I Read… (#20)

43 - Angels

#43 – Angels, by Denis Johnson

DNF @ 40%. I don’t even feel conflicted about tossing this one. This book is entirely style over substance, with vivid settings and description trumping character development. The two main characters aren’t just flat, they’re flat-out unlikable–Jamie does almost nothing but complain about money and her kids (even going so far as to have repeated fantasies about pushing them into traffic), and the first major thing we see Bill do is commit robbery.

The book blurb says Johnson is “known for his portraits of America’s dispossessed,” and that’s fine–the characters can be morally questionable people and do morally questionable things. But if they have no redeeming qualities whatsoever, why should I care about them? Why should I be moved by what happens to them?

Short answer: I don’t. I stopped reading.

44 - Goodnight Brew

#44 – Goodnight Brew, by Karla Oceanak, illustrated by Allie Ogg

This was a gift from family, because we’re beer people–we’ve been to beer festivals and brewed our own beer and wine. (It’s fun!)

It’s a cute parody of Goodnight Moon, and I like the art style, but I wouldn’t recommend everyone run right out and buy it–it’s not a book for kids, so there’s not going to be a lot of reread value.

It is kind of adorable if you’re a beer person, though.

45 - And Nothing But the Truthiness

#45 – And Nothing but the Truthiness: The Rise (and Further Rise) of Stephen Colbert, by Lisa Rogak

  • Read: 5/13/16 – 5/19/16
  • Provenance: Owned (hardcover)
  • Challenge: BookRiot Read Harder 2016
  • Task: Read a biography (not a memoir or autobiography)
  • Rating: 2/5 stars

My mother found this for me a few years back at a used book sale, knowing I was a fan of The Colbert Report. I hadn’t gotten to it, so I thought the biography task would be a good reason to.

But this wasn’t worth the time it took to read. I found the tone a disconcerting mix of dry fact and insensitive sensationalism. I don’t read a lot of strict biographies–maybe they’re all like that? When I read about a real person, it’s usually in memoirs, because I’m more interested in how they view their lives and their work, than a strict accounting of their histories.

And I didn’t learn much, either. The second half of the book boils down to a blow-by-blow of TCR, and since I was watching from the mid 2000s right up to the show’s end in 2014, I watched most of it happen myself, so I didn’t need to read about it. (This book was written in 2011, so it isn’t recent enough to include Colbert’s move to The Late Show. Pity, because I would like to know more about the behind-the-scenes on that.)

I knew going in that it would be slightly out-of-date, but honestly, I didn’t expect it to be so boring.

What did you read this week? Anything stunning you’d like to recommend? I’m always happy to get suggestions to add to my TBR!


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