What We’re Reading: September 2012

On the first Friday of each month, we share what we’re reading, which may include everything from magazines and blogs to novels and books for work or pleasure.

I may have finally caught election fever after the conventions the past two weeks, as I was inspired to pick up Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. Even though I remember the 2008 presidential election season vividly, it’s been both fun and fascinating to relive it. I’m particularly enjoying the parts about Iowa, as the 2008 campaign was the first one I spent living in Iowa and participating in the caucuses and the fervor leading up to them as both parties had wide open fields. I followed the campaigns closely, and Heilemann’s articles in New York Magazine were among my favorites. As captivating as current politics can be, I realize I appreciate a little distance to really understand the strategies, successes, and failures. I’m also still working my way through this year’s Booker Prize longlist in preparation for Tuesday’s short list announcement. My favorite (so far) of the longlisted titles is Deborah’s Levy’s slim, haunting novel, Swimming Home. It’s breathtaking, heartbreaking, brilliant and destined to be a modern classic–if it can only find its audience. –Carrie

This month, I have found myself immersed in the words and worlds of author Maggie Stiefvater, a fantastic author who is actually visiting my library later this month–so exciting! I’ve been reading her fantastic Shiver series. The books–Shiver, Linger, and Forever–are a compelling re-imagining of the werewolf legend. In Stiefvater’s world, werewolves are real, but they are not the slavering monsters that change at each full moon. No, these werewolves turn into true wolves when the weather turns cold. They spend their Spring and Summer season as human, and Fall and Winter as wolf. Eventually, every werewolf reaches a Spring where they do not change back into a human, and they remain a wolf until the end of their days with only the barest recollection of their human selves. The series introduces us to Sam, a werewolf approaching his final season of change, and Grace, a human who was bitten but never changed. The two meet and sparks fly, but can love last as winter approaches? Stiefvater writes with a beautiful, lyric hand that creates a wonderfully atmospheric read. She is a skilled writer, and I am looking forward to starting her new series, The Raven Boys, and immersing myself in her words and worlds once more. –Heather

This month I returned to the oversized stacks to look at pictures. Sarah Sze’s Infinite Line (Asia Society) reveals the relationship between her concept drawings and the dizzying, architectural installations that she ultimately creates. Sze’s delicate work may also be viewed in the September 2012 issue of Sculpture. Corey Keller’s exhibition catalogue, Francesca Woodman (D.A.P./SFMOMA), is a haunting collection of the young artist’s influential self-portraiture, beginning with her work as a RISD student and followed by images produced in Italy and New York before she committed suicide at age 22. Fame and accolades also arrived posthumously for Vivian Maier, a Chicago-based nanny who shot outstanding street photos during the ‘50s and ‘60s. Her curious, naturalistic photographs were collected and presented for the first time in Vivian Maier: Street Photographer (powerHouse Books). –Amy

Lately, I’ve been enjoying John Jerimiah Sullivan’s Pulphead. Fellow Chuck Klosterman fans will probably like this collection of essays on widely varying aspects of pop culture (e.g. interviewing Bunny Wailer at his home in Jamaica) and the author’s personal life (e.g. the story of his younger brother surviving a freak electrocution accident).  Sullivan is a talented storyteller and although some of the pieces are less memorable than others, it’s a fun read that (for me) has been perfect for the hectic start of the fall semester.  –Sarah

I’m on the verge of finishing Amanda Choplin’s novel The Orchardist. The Orchardist is set in Washington in the very early 20th century. Talmadge, the orchardist, lives a quiet life, until two young and very pregnant girls start stealing apples from him. As Talmadge discovers more about these girls’ troubled lives, he decides to give them refuge in his orchard, forever changing his quiet and calm life. This book is tough to put down! –Emily

Now tell us: what are you reading this month?

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One thought on “What We’re Reading: September 2012

  1. Pingback: What We’re Reading: November 2012 | Chasing Reference

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