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By: Randi Spray on November 27, 2014 - 4:00am - Add new comment

I like to pretend I’m not pretentious about what I read. I like to say I treat my fantasy novels, my young adult fiction and my classics all the same.

But I don’t.

And people, I’ve been reading Proust.

For a long time, I avoided Proust because I felt he personified pretentiousness. What could be more self-indulgent than a seven-volume novel of more-or-less fictional remembrances of a dead French dude? What could be more ostentatious than telling all your friends you were reading him?

Maybe telling all of Juneau you were reading him.

And enjoying it.

By: Randi Spray on November 20, 2014 - 4:00am - Add new comment

One day whilst browsing at Hearthside, I came upon a little orange book. The book was “Parnassus on Wheels” by Christopher Morley and I quite enjoyed it. It’s about books and I love books. And at the end of this book was a list labelled “More titles in the Art of the Novella series.”

By: Randi Spray on November 13, 2014 - 4:00am - Add new comment

In 2008, Suzanne Collins published “The Hunger Games” and a publishing phenomena was born: teen post-apocalypse dystopian novels. This was a bandwagon to which I happily attached myself, combining as it does the bleak bitterness of adult dystopia with the frothy writing style of young adult fiction.

By: Randi Spray on November 6, 2014 - 4:00am - Add new comment

I could come up with some grand reason for having gathered together the photos you see below, but I won’t. It was curiousity, plain and simple, that caused me to type “book” in to the search bar of the AP Exchange periodically during October. I wanted to see what kind of photos of books would pop up over the course of a month and these are the best of the results:

There were small people reading:

By: Randi Spray on November 1, 2014 - 10:04pm - Add new comment

If you read only one celebrity biography ever, make it “Choose your Own Autobiography” by Neil Patrick Harris. Not because you love NPH, though why wouldn’t you love NPH? Not because you think he has the most life-changing things to say out of any celebrity, I haven’t read any other celebrity biographies so I can’t judge. Read “Choose Your Own Autobiography” because it’s fun.

By: Randi Spray on October 23, 2014 - 3:00am - Add new comment

Books bring out the weirdness in people, not the subject matter. I’m referring to the actual, physical object that is a book, because everyone has their book quirks.

I have a friend who treats his books like priceless artifacts. Whenever I borrowed a book from him in high school, I was given strict admonitions against breaking the spine or dog-earing pages. That was hard for me because I was borrowing 500-plus page fantasy epics and I always loose my bookmarks.

By: Randi Spray on October 15, 2014 - 9:00pm - Add new comment

“The Narrow Road to the Deep North” by Richard Flanagan.

I may not have liked this one but I can see why the Man Booker judges picked it. The prose is gorgeous. A liquid velvet thing. Living and breathing and stunning.

By: Randi Spray on October 12, 2014 - 3:00am - Add new comment

If I had to pick one word to describe “How to Be Both,” Ali Smith’s Man Booker Prize shortlisted novel, I would choose gentle.

I tried not to choose it. I tried to come up with any other way of encapsulating my feelings toward this book. But I kept coming back to gentle.

By: Randi Spray on October 9, 2014 - 3:00am - Add new comment

I’ll admit it was with great excitement that I settled down to read the Man Booker Prize shortlisted “J” by Howard Jacobson. I’d heard it was a dystopia and I, along with most of America, love dystopian novels.

“A novel to be talked about in the same breath as ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ and ‘Brave New World,’” reads the front flap.

No, I don’t think it will. 

By: Randi Spray on October 6, 2014 - 3:00am - Add new comment

I really can’t recommend “The Narrow Road to the Deep North” by Richard Flanagan. The other Man Booker Prize shortlisted books so far had their sad parts, but they always had some redeeming quality that kept you reading. Maybe it was humor, maybe family, maybe a lingering hope for humankind.

“The Narrow Road to the Deep North” is just flat-out depressing. It’s about Australian POWs building the Death Railway in Thailand. It follows their lives before, during and after World War II.

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