June Reads

  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

The concept of this book is hilarious; however, the book was a double-edged sword for me.  The genius of this book is that it is probably 98% Jane Austen’s original manuscript sprinkled with Seth Grahame-Smith’s subtle changes.  It seems that much funnier and offensive to have so much of the story be the original.  After all, if there is anything that can improve Austen’s classic tale of snobby and smug teenagers droning on incessantly about tea-time etiquette and social status (that describes every Austen novel by the way), it’s ninjas, ultra-violence, childish sexual innuendos and the walking dead.  The bad thing about the book is that it is probably 98% Jane Austen’s original manuscript.  I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that I would rather have my skin slowly peeled from my body than sit down and read an Austen novel in its entirety.  And so, although this book made me laugh out loud several times, it took great effort for me to push through to the end.  I did soldier through, as I absolutely had to know if Mr. Darcy would be bitten and inducted into the undead army of Satan (I won’t spoil it for you).  By the way, did I mention that I’m not a big Jane Austen fan?

  Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

I’m secretly in love with The Office’s Kelly Kapoor (and when I say secretly, I mean that  every time she comes on camera, I remind my wife that I’m in love with Kelly Kapoor).  So, of course I had to read this book.  There are some very funny parts but, overall, it definitely felt forced.  It seems like she wrote a 100 page book, then added another 100 pages of “filler” in order to meet the requirements of her book deal (there are several times that she “lists” funny things about herself).  It’s a quick read, and it provides some good laughs, but it’s probably not going to change your life.

  Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

Let’s be clear about one thing: I was not born to run.  If there are people out there who just naturally love running, they are a bizarre form of pervert.  Running is like French film, you have to keep forcing it upon yourself, telling yourself you love it until, finally, you can’t tell if you actually do love it or you’re just used to the punishment. Since I turn thirty-five in about six months, and I love to challenge (torture) myself, I signed up to run a half-marathon in November.  I picked this book up hoping that it would help me learn to love running, and inspire me to get out on the trail.  It worked!  Not only is this a great story about some very interesting people, it is also very inspiring.  McDougall gets a little preachy in the middle about barefoot running and vegetarianism, but it’s only for a chapter or so.  If you love running, or you’re trying to force yourself to love running, definitely give this book a shot.

  Thirst by Andrei Gelasimov

My reading of this book is another result of the Amazon Deal of the Day.  I am not exposed to enough Russian literature so, as I’ve said before, I love how these deals help me expand the variety of my bookshelf.  Thirst tells the story of a veteran who, after being severely disfigured in the Chechnya War, attempts to escape his memories and his injuries through constant drunkenness.  When one of his former comrades turns up missing, he is forced to re-enter the world and join his small gang of war buddies in searching.  Focusing on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Thirst is not a very uplifting novel, but I did really enjoy reading it, and I will definitely check out more by this author.

  Starship Troopers by Robert A Heinlein

Starship Troopers is Heinlein’s satire of war and the military.  It was pretty good, but not great for me. As is true with all of his novels, Heinlein uses long, one-sided dialogues in this book to philosophize on many of his opinions (including views on war, patriotism and child-rearing), but this book didn’t seem to offer much beyond that.  I think Heinlein was very intelligent, and he offers many interesting perspectives in this novel, but it basically only serves as a vehicle for these opinions; there is little to no actual storyline.  It was nowhere near as good as Stranger in a Strange Land.


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