July and August Reads


buy: 1 | 2 

I need a book light. Or *sigh* an e-reader. I'm nine months into 2013 and I haven't even broken double digits on my #50Books. And I think I've figured out why: I have no way to read in bed in the dark. Because let's face it: my 27-year-old eyes don't have the same superhuman vision as my 11-year-old eyes did. Take Monday night for example. I woke up at 3:30am, something I tend to do when my room feels like it's consumed in hell flames, and could not fall back asleep. I could have gotten a ton of reading done in those 3 hours before I had to get ready for work, but instead I surfed the internet on my phone and refreshed Facebook and Instagram a dozen times before accepting the fact that no one else was awake. Unproductive.

This past month I read an incredible book and a, well, sort of credible one? The incredible book of course, was "Southern Cross the Dog" written by one of my favorite people, the genuinely wonderful Bill Cheng. When I was writing my summary of Bill's book for this blog in my head, by default I started to throw in the Hunter disclaimer that I usually do for my excellent former classmates and professors: something about my bias and a humblebrag about how I actually know these talented people with published novels. But it felt wrong and fake for Bill, since there is no bias. There is simply the truth: that he wrote a shockingly beautiful book showcasing his excruciating talent.

Southern Cross the Dog by Bill Cheng - I haven't read a book like this in a long time. For that matter, after reading SCTD, I think it's safe to say that I haven't read ANY books in long time. Actual books. Because this, this is a BOOK, the kind that gives you chills and makes you think, even if its mostly thoughts about how you wish you could be that talented of a writer. Southern Cross the Dog is a novel set in 1920s and 40s Mississippi, following the flood. And while the writing fully immerses you in that world, the themes don't tie you down there. This isn't a book about the 20s and 40s South. In my opinion, this isn't even a historical novel. Instead, SCTD is a ghost story about the things that haunt us and the ever-looming fearful anticipation for that point when they'll make themselves known in our lives. One of the book's most effortlessly achieved endeavors was to, in the words of Bill himself, "just communicate this feeling of what it's like to feel like you have no choice, to feel like the things that happen to you happen because of how the universe wants to use you." It's a timeless sentiment that many people can relate to at some point in their lives and Bill's ability to explore that within such dazzling pages is extraordinary. It took me all summer to finish this novel, mostly because of how much I had to put it down and think about it, but also because I didn't want it to be over. Expect greater than great things from Bill Cheng.

I'm Only Here for the WiFi by Chelsea Fagan - What this book is: The perfect present to give people between the ages of 19 and 24. This is a book that they will actually read and enjoy, and hopefully, after they finish, will find themselves able to breathe a sigh of relief. What this book is not: the collection of fresh essays with even a glimpse of depth or the novel that I've been waiting for Chelsea Fagan to write. Fagan, she of Thought Catalog fame, is a good writer. I enjoy her immensely. In my opinion, she could stand to shed some of her New York-centric paradigms (something I hope, but doubt, she'll do in Paris) and sure, she sometimes tries too hard to come across as the person she thinks she's supposed to be, rather than the person she is (which is a hallmark of her age), but I think she has talent and she's certainly a lot more disciplined in her chosen craft than some of her peers. While I hope (and believe) we'll see more from her and though I think this was a necessary first step career-wise, overall, WiFi is a letdown. But on the scale of letdowns, this is more like a really nice one done in person at a boutique coffee shop, not sent at 4am in an incoherent text message.

'50 Books' Progress: 9/50