The Bethany Library will close Mon, 2/20 & reopen Mon, 3/6 in its temporary location at 7941 NW 23rd (the corner of 23rd & Council).
My, My Metrocard
I love reading fiction books that are geared toward my own life in some way, some sort of little connection that allows me to feel like I am part of that story, allowing fiction to become something more than just someone else's tale. And makes it something I can relate to; something to think about and gather some insight. For me it turns fiction into less of an escape and more of an emotional learning experience. Sometimes, as well, I feel like the books I choose to read for any given month will all randomly relate to one another on their own volition, purely by accident on my part. I swear I rarely ever intentionally choose books to relate to one another, but sometimes it feels like fate pulls books directly off the shelves for me, just so that life will have a little bit of cohesion. Books are the one thing that is consistently easy in life, and I have a feeling I am probably not alone in that sentiment.
Anyhow, this month’s picks follow that easy path, as they all involve certain types of subculture (either punk or 90s alternative), in quick little novels that evolve around music, young people, and even a few paranormal entities.
The Sunshine Crust Baking Factory by Stephanie Wakefield
A little story about punk and squatters in New York City set in the 1990s, this book follows the story of a by-choice squatter named Sid, who is trying to find her way around the scene, find a home, make friends, and live. The storyline didn’t captivate me as much as I liked reading about the subculture and the music involved, and frankly my favorite part of the book was probably the title. It’s a tale of young adults surviving on the streets, choosing a life outside of the commercial everyday lives that a lot of people blindly lead. With a little bit of Brooklyn street tough, and a little bit of love, Sid maneuvers her way through friends and housing, dealing with bullies and boys, and proving that girls are out there too, even in the places some people wouldn’t expect them to be. I also loved that the main character in this novel is not only a girl, but her body type is that of an everyday lady, and less of a model or society seen “perfect” body type. Unfortunately this was not carried over to the cover of the book which seems to portray a wholy different physical view of the main character than one would get from reading the actual book. Overall a good little story about making one's way, on your own terms by squatting and helping others, with lots of music and a quick glimpse into the New York squatting scene of 1995.
The Big Rewind by Libby Cudmore
The Big Rewind is unique because it takes your basic mystery novel (romance, friendships, murder) and mixes it into the alternative music scene full of mixed tapes and doc martens. I definitely did not read this book because it’s a mystery since I usually shy away from such fast-paced-who-done-it type of books, but stumbled upon it for its music references and scene culture. I do think this book took all of that a little too far as it name drops all sorts of hip things from Trader Joe’s to Netflix, from Facebook to The Rockford Files. Not to mention the bands (so many bands), from Smashing Pumpkins to The Smiths. I sort of felt like the author threw in way too many pop culture references and alternative bands but perhaps that is only because I am familiar with them and didn’t need the scene set up so much. Also set in Brooklyn, The Big Rewind is a fun little book that will keep you engaged and wanting to go back and listen to all your favorite bands, or find a few new ones you’ve never heard of.
The Unnoticeables by Robert Brockway
I stumbled upon this book actually by finding book two first, on the new book shelf. A coworker of mine who reads a lot of horror fiction pointed out to me that it was part of a series and so I quickly set off to find book one, because order is important to me, at least in book world. This book is set in two different time periods, with a few characters that cross the timelines. While it is a bit horror fiction, it’s a bit more on the sci-fi scale in my opinion, with several paranormal type creatures making appearances into the everyday lives of others. Part of this book is also set in New York City and involves the punk scene there (but this time it’s the 70s instead of the 90s), the other half being in sunny California. I liked both sides of this story quite a bit even with the otherworldly characters which is usually something I do not go for in books. Also like the above books, this one involves a strong female character determined to see things through. While I still haven’t moved on to book two and don’t know if I will, I did enjoy this out of my comfort zone type book that had enough familiar culture and funny writing to keep it within my realm of interests. Fun fact: The author of this book is the editor and a writer for Cracked.com.