Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Early Summer Books

 I was interested in reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed since I liked her earlier book, Torch, so much. A few years ago, she was a visiting writer when I was in the MFA program and gave a great reading. And signed a copy to my honorary Jewish grandmother. So I added Wild to my list at the library and waited my turn. Once I got my hands on it, I could not put it down. I opened Wild on Saturday night and by Sunday afternoon I was done. Wow! was my first reaction. This was the best book I've read in a long time.  While the book is about her journey hiking the Pacific Crescent Trail from California to Washington, it also delves into her relationship with her parents, the end of her marriage, the loss of her mother, how her sibling relationships changed, and more.  I'm still thinking about it. 

At the library I came across The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan on CD and I listened to it in my car.  I didn't like the setup, probably the first CD or so, but then once Tan got into the story I was hooked.  I was driving slowly to listen to this good book.  It was interesting and some beautiful storytelling.  It was very satisfying.

The Breakdown Lane by Jacquelyn Mitchard got a medium amount of hype and kind of mixed reviews, so I waited until it was available on my Kindle from the library.  It's about an advice columnist whose lawyer husband leaves their family.  The point of view changed from the wife to the son and that's the only thing that stopped it from being totally predictable. Not worth a beach read.

I wanted to like A Changed Man by Francine Prose about a sort-of reformed skinhead who approaches a human rights nonprofit run by a Holocaust survivor.  The writing was pretty good but the story was weak and unbelievable.

The best word to describe The Kingdom of Childhood by Rebecca Coleman is creepy. A middle-aged Waldorf Kindergarten teacher has an extramarital affair with a sixteen-year old student. Eurythmy and child molestation?  Yuck. Disjointed and unrealistic, I kept reading because I wanted it to get better. It didn't.

What happens when I can't sleep?  I read books on my Kindle that I got from the library while everyone else sleeps.  Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt is about two women leaving their husbands who get in a car crash.  One of them dies and the other one falls in love with her husband after he finds out his wife had an affair.  Of course.

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