Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Sunday Salon: Reading in (Heat) Waves

We're going on a week now with no central air-conditioning in our house, an unfortunate miserable situation coinciding with a heat wave in our area.  Temperatures inside our house have been in the high 80s this week and outside, it's in the 90s.  Wednesday appears to be the soonest that we might see central air-conditioning again.

To cope, we've become even more sedentary, staying in the coolest room possible with the strategically-positioned emergency-purchased room air conditioner unit going full blast. Perhaps the only good part to this is that I've been reading more than usual. (Well, that ... and I've gotten an unexpected vacation from making much more than sandwiches and salads for dinner.)

Sometimes after reading a particularly well written, engrossing novel (I finished Pat Conroy's South of Broad last week; see my review here), I have a hard time getting into another work of fiction. My new solution is to switch gears; instead of diving right into another novel and subconsciously comparing authors and writing styles, I'm finding that is a good time (at least for me) to read some nonfiction.

So I've been spending some time this week in the world of girl zines, reading Alison Piepmeier's incredibly interesting, enlightening book, Girl Zines: Making Media, Doing Feminism. I heard about this from one of my favorite sites, Girl w/ Pen, then found it in the young adult section of the library. I'm enjoying this one, which I'm reading for the Women Unbound reading challenge. Piepmeier writes in a nice mix of academic and everyday language, which only a few people (in my opinion) can master. From the back cover:

"Bursting with collage art, stickers, glitter, and handwriting, the messy, photocopied, do-it-yourself zines created by girls and women over the past two decades provide a complex window into feminism's history and future. Covering every imaginable subject matter, zinesters showcase idiosyncratic, surprising, and savvy arguments and issues, making feminism's third-wave visible. Though they all reflect the personal style of their creators, they are also sites for constructing narratives, identities, and communities.

"Alison Piepmeier argues that these quirky, personalized booklets are tangible examples of the ways that girls and women "do" feminism today, persistently and stubbornly carving out new spaces for what it means to be a revolutionary and a girl. Girl Zines takes zines seriously, asking what they can tell us about the inner lives of girls and women over the last twenty years."

I also started It's Beginning to Hurt, a short story collection by James Lasdun, which won the National Short Story Prize in the UK. For whatever reason, the stories haven't quite been grabbing me.  (Maybe because I was just finishing South of Broad.)  I was thinking of abandoning this one, until I read Dawn's review at She Is Too Fond of Books, and now I think I might give it more of a chance. 

Coming up this week, I'll have a review tomorrow of The Killing of Mindi Quintana by Jeffrey A. Cohen, a local Philadelphia author.  This will mark my first review for TLC Book Tours

And after that, if I haven't melted from the heat in my house,  I might be seeking out books that make me remember what it felt like to be surrounded by this, only just a few short months ago:

(photo taken by me of the aftermath of the February 2010 blizzard that dumped over two feet of snow in our backyard, and our neighbor's.)

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Trisha said...

One of the joys and pains of living around our latitude is the extreme weather - we go from freezing snow to passing out hot. Congrats on the cooking break though!

Shon said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you get your air conditioner fixed. Although the calendar states it's not summer just yet, certainly feels like it outside!

Have a great reading week.

Alison said...

Hurray! Love that you're reading and enjoying the book! Sorry that it's in such hot circumstances, though.

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Thanks for the air-conditioning well wishes, everyone! There's been a nice break in the weather, so we're back to more spring-like temperatures, thank goodness.

And Alison, so nice to see your comment! I'm really enjoying your book. Thanks for stopping by.

JoAnn said...

I get really cranky with heat and humidity... sure hope your A/C is fixed soon. Pat Conroy is a definitely a tough act to follow! I read a few of the stories from It's Beginning to Hurt after reading Dawn's review, too. I did enjoy them, but wasn't blown away.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

Good luck surviving the heat! I don't have AC in my apartment, so when it gets really hot I melt. Luckily it's finally a manageable temperature here in WI.