The Books of August

As someone staring down tuition, I made a concentrated effort to cut down on book-buying this August. Did it work? Just about!

Because despite rediscovering the joys of my local library and keeping myself on a pretty strict spending budget, I don’t think it’s possible for me to go a whole month without buying a book. Or two. Or six.

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All My Friends Are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman

This is the second copy of this book I’ve bought, because I lent out my first copy and may never get it back. Since that means there’s a little more Andrew Kaufman in the world, I can’t complain too much.

This is one of my favourite little novellas, and it’s Canadian to boot. Tom’s friends are all superheroes with a variety of minor powers. Unfortunately this turns against him; at his wedding, a jealous ex uses his power to hypnotise Tom’s wife into forgetting he exists. Cue a touching quest of love and determination to make her remember again. I heard a rumour that some people have used this book as a wedding favour, which sounds about right. I need to stop describing books as short and sweet, but this one is truly short and sweet.

The Waterproof Bible by Andrew Kaufman

It was not my intention to buy two Kaufman books this month, but sometimes the universe has specific ideas regarding your reading habits.

I first read this book in 2013, right after Born Weird hit the scene, because after reading one Kaufman, I had to read them all. I think The Waterproof Bible might be my favourite of his works, which makes it surprising that it’s taken me so long to get a copy of my own. That said, I’m super bummed that it came without the gorgeous dust jacket. That’s why you always read the product description carefully, kids.

As for what the book’s about: a little magic realism, messy familial entanglements, a giant flood, a frog princess, and everything set on the prairies. What’s not to love?

Fury by Salman Rushdie

Ever feel like you have major holes in your literary knowledge? Well, I’ve never read any Salman Rushdie. I love magic realism but I’m hesitant about his generally lengthy page counts; while Midnight’s Children and The Satanic Verses are on the to-read pile, they haven’t managed to make it to the top yet.

So Fury was a logical purchase. I need some Rushdie in my repertoire, it was only a dollar at a library book sale, and it’s a mere 250 pages long. The blurb tells me it’s about a dollmaker, and that’s really all I know. I’m excited about it.

Crooked by Austin Grossman

This book just came out last month, and I actually found myself in a Chapters on its release day. Temptation!

I resisted, but only just. I submitted a suggestion to purchase at my library, which sat pending in my account for three weeks. Then I discovered an old VISA gift card in my wallet and ordered a copy from Housing Works in New York. It arrived in three days. I have no regrets.

Crooked is about the Nixon administraton set in a Cthulhu universe. That’s all I needed to hear. Sold.

Doomed by Chuck Palahniuk

I love Palahniuk, but trying to make my way through his backlog is a daunting task. Usually people hang onto their copies, which is why I snagged this one when I found it at a thrift store. I was ready to dig into it the second I got home, until I remembered that Doomed is the sequel to Damned – which, of course, I haven’t read and don’t own. Luckily I’ve got Fight Club 2 and Rant to tide me over until Damned comes in at the library.

Both novels apparently follow the life and times of “Madison Spencer, the liveliest and snarkiest dead girl in the universe.” Classic Palahniuk.

On Writing by Stephen King

I actually bought this for my roommate, who has been looking for it everywhere without luck. But let’s be serious: I’m going to read the shit out of it. This is King’s instructional / autobiographical work; I’m usually apprehensive about the quality or usefulness of how-to writing books, but I’ve been hearing good things about this one for years.

September is looking like another month of slim budgets, but I’m sure something will poke holes in my resolve sooner or later – especially considering all the new releases hitting the shelves. Is there anything you can’t wait to read, or think ought to be on my TBR? Drop me a comment!

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