Thursday, April 11, 2013

February and March Books

I was a busy reader in February and March.  I went on two trips and had lots of time to read on planes. I am the kind of person that always has my nose in a book or a Kindle nearby.

Go to the Bookstore

The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley had me hooked from the first chapter.  A moral dilemma, a bereaved husband, a baby, and a complicated family history made for a compelling read.  I had a knee-jerk reaction to the sympathetic portrayal of a career anti-choice lawyer.  The book made me curious about the author's politics though I couldn't find a definitive answer online. It reminded me in a way of Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper.  I should mention that was the only Picoult book I really liked.  

Marian Keyes is one of my favorite contemporary authors and I am very fond her Walsh sisters books, Rachel's Holiday being my favorite.  So I got a big kick out of Mammy Walsh's A-Z of the Walsh Family short.  And it is quite short, a mere 66 pages. If you are already a big Keyes fan and are up to date with the Walsh family, then it's worth the $2.99. It also includes the long definition of a Feathery Stroker. 

Visit the Library

If you didn't know, now you do: I love The Hunger Games.  I inhaled the series and have read each of the three books more than once.  So when I saw The Girl Who Was on Fire: Your Favorite Authors on Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games Trilogy by Leah Wilson, et al. was available from the library, I couldn't resist.  It's like listening in on your favorite writing professors talking about The Hunger Games and what everything means. I didn't love every essay but enjoyed the collection as a whole.

The History of Us by Leah Stewart starts with a family tragedy and a woman uprooting her life to care for her sister's young children.  Instead of showing us how the family heals, the book starts when the children are grown and life-changing decisions still have to be made. 

Wish you knew what happened to Harvard grads way after the fact?  The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan explores the lives of a group of friends 20 years after graduation.  It has what you'd expect: career and relationship drama, disappointments, and nothing else.  I was hoping for more. 

Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson definitely had some hilarious parts.  But I felt like she pulled her punches when it came to the real, emotional stories.  

Why, oh why, did I read these five books by Lani Diane Rich?  Because they were inexpensive Kindle books, just fluffy enough, and perfect for reading with my seatback and tray table reclined.  At two for $5, they fit into my tight budget.  The titles were Time Off For Good Behavior, Ex And The Single Girl, Maybe Baby, The Comeback Kiss and A Little Ray Of Sunshine.

Jill Smolinsk's Objects of My Affection is a beach book about a professional organizer with a teenaged son in rehab tasked with organizing a nutty, formerly famous, reclusive artist/hoarder.  Considering some of the serious topics in the book (bankruptcy, rehab, heartbreak) I thought it would go deeper than it did. 

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker was yet another coming of age tale set in a precarious future where the Earth no longer spins as it once did.  The slowing affects everything and everyone.  I'm usually not a big fan of sci-fi fantasy, and this book was okay but not great.  The reason it's on this list and not the one below is because it has good writing. 

All that being said, I did enjoy Dog Stars by Peter Heller.  The novel is about Hig, a man living in an airplane hangar after a flu pandemic has destroyed life as we know it.  How Hig survives and what he lives with kept me turning the pages. 

While I was reading We the Animals by Justin Torres I made a bet with myself that he was a writer from the Iowa Writer's Workshop.  I won that bet.  Beautiful writing about a childhood with brothers (the animals), poverty, violence, young parents working blue-collar jobs around the clock, and so much more.

Have a V8

I picked up  Philippa Gregory's The Kingmaker's Daughter because I liked The Bolyen Sisters so much.  This historical novel is a long, bloody, long, tale of family relationships, and political games.  Did I mention it was long? 

I wanted to like The Pretty One by Lucinda Rosenfeld a lot more than I did.  Three sisters, family drama, etc., but I couldn't really connect with it.  I liked her other book, I'm So Happy for You, that I also read on a plane, which is why I borrowed this one.

I am so glad that I borrowed 150 Pounds by Kate Rockland from the library.  If I had paid even one penny for it, that would have been too much.  Two stereotypical bloggers,  one overweight, one severely underweight, go through changes wherespoiler alert!at the end they both end up weighing 150lbs. 

It's more than a little embarrassing to admit I read The ex-Mrs. Hedgefund by Jill Kargman.  I did and found myself not liking it but not being able to walk away from it.  I guess I was hoping it would have some redeeming quality.  I'm still waiting. 

For some reason, I thought Amanda Coplin's The Orchardist was called The Orchidist. I can report not one orchid appears in this novel.  It's lengthy and even though there is a fair amount of action, it was hard to feel strongly about any of it.   

MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche would have made an enjoyable magazine article.  However, a juvenile writing style and too much filler (including a Webster's dictionary definition of a friend) made this book a dud. 

I borrowed Reinventing Claire by Darian Wilk from the Kindle library, then realized that it was a romance novel, which is not my cup of tea.  

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is the book version of what I imagine a British Lifetime movie would be like. 

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