August Bibliolust

As I hinted yesterday, this year’s South Dakota Festival of Books is impacting this month’s Bibliolust. The program for the festival, Sept. 24-26, gives rise to just more than half the books on this month’s list — and there’s a couple others I’m pondering that haven’t quite turned into lust. Of course, there’s also the normal course of lust making a few appearances this month.

There wasn’t much progress on prior lists. Many of last month’s haven’t hit the library yet or I am still on the reserve list (including for one that is now five weeks overdue — so much for courtesy). Here’s this month’s list:

Book by Book: Notes on Reading and Life, Michael Dirda — Dirda is a book critic for the WaPo and is scheduled for the Festival of Books so I figured it worth reading one of his books. It’s not his latest but I thought it might be a good overview.

The Cave Man, Xiaoda Xiao — I almost hate to admit it but a banner ad on a book-related website brought this book to my attention. The author, a prisoner in one of Mao’s labor camps, calls the book “a work of history in fictional form.”

Denied, Detained, Deported: Stories from the Dark Side of American Immigration, Ann Bausum — This is actually considered a children’s book but makes the list because Bausum is doing a presentation on it during the Fesitval of Books’ immigration program on Sept. 24. The book examines historical aspects of America’s policies toward immigration over the years.

Factory of Tears, Valzhyna Mort — A perfect example of how the Festival of Books added to this list. I am not a poetry fan and had never heard of Valzhyna Mort, who writes poems in her native Belorussian. That and the fact this book is the first bilingual Belarusian-English poetry book ever published in the U.S. wouldn’t necessarily intrigue me except we hosted a foreign student from Belarus during the 2001-02 school year and I’m intrigued to get another perspective on the country.

Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, David Eagleman — I heard about this book, in which a neuroscientist writes about 40 possible afterlives, when it was first released last year. A recent comment about the paperback edition released earlier this year led to it now being on my library hold list.

Super Sad True Love Story, Gary Shteyngart — The buzz around Shteyngart’s latest novel didn’t intrigue me much — until I saw it is set in a dystopian near future. Dystopia addiction kicked in and I’m now on the reserve list at the library.

Underground America: Narratives of Undocumented Lives, Peter Orner — Orner, who practiced immigration law before taking up a writing career, is also speaking during the immigration track of the Festival of Books. He compiled and edited this collection of oral histories of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

Report Card:

Year-to-date (January-July)

Total Bibliolust books: 36

Number read: 18 (50%)

Started but did not finish: 4 (11%)

Cumulative (September 2008-July 2010)

Total Bibliolust books: 122

Number read: 78 (63.9%)

Started but did not finish: 8 (6.6%)

The trouble with fiction is that it makes too much sense. Reality never makes sense.

Aldous Huxley, The Genius and the Goddess

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