Books of the Summer # 1

I got to read a lot of good books this summer — between the end of school in May and the beginning of school last week I read 24 books! Here is the first of a few of the notable entries from that list:

My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki

I found this book on the “Staff Recommendation” shelf at the library. Not knowing what to expect, I began the book somewhat skeptically but ended up enjoying it a lot. The plot is creative — about a Japanese-American documentarian who takes a job on a Japanese reality show sponsored by an American beef exporter whose goal is to get Japanese people to eat more red meat. The format was fast-moving and entertaining, too. Each chapter was introduced by a passage from Sei Shonagon’s The Pillow Book. This private diary and collection of lists from 10th century Japan includes commentaries on “Things which give disgust,” “Things which delight one,” “Things which are surprising but not unpleasant,” and more. Finally, I liked this book because the characters were sympathetic and made the reader become attached to them. I finished this book while camping last weekend, burrowed deep into my sleeping bag so that moths wouldn’t be attracted to the light of my head-lamp — I just had to finish it! Ozeki has written one other book since Meats was released in 1998: All Over Creation. I have already put it on my (admittedly lengthy) “to read” list.

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