Some of My Favorite Books

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner

I am always happy to find a new novel by Jennifer Weiner to read. She is never sappy, always tells a good story with plenty of plot twists and true-to-life problems for the characters. And Then Came You was no exception.

This novel has believable characters that are not totally likeable all the time, which makes them perfect! The story of is told from the point of view of four women, all involved in one way or another with fertility, egg donation, surrogacy, and ultimately motherhood.

Book Read: Then Came You
Author: Jennifer Weiner
ISBN: 978-1-4516-1772-6

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Funnies by J. Robert Lennon

Somewhere along the way I picked up this book and it's been sitting on my nightstand for at least a year. I am trying to work my way through these books so I can free up the space for more! I started reading this one, fully intent on maybe or maybe not reading all of it. I have no problem tossing a book aside as Dorothy Parker said in this quote: ""This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." But in this case, I'm so glad I kept reading.

The Funnies turned out to be a hilarious book that was also touching and sincere and very realistic. In a "nut"shell, I loved it. I'd never heard of Mr. Lennon nor this book, which was published in 1999, but I highly recommend it.

A man with no direction, Tim Mix, is the son of a famous cartoonist, who is thrust into that world when his father dies. The pitiful life of Tim and his siblings is told with great humor and surprising compassion, especially when Tim is helping his mother in the nursing home use the restroom. Just listen to this:

"And when I had put my mother back into her bed and she again fell asleep, I felt a tacit acknowledgment between us of the fact of her death, which waited for her like a gift from a distant relative that had been shipped but had not yet arrived."

Book Read: The Funnies
Author: J. Robert Lennon
ISBN: 1-57322-126-0

Thursday, July 21, 2011

And Furthermore by Judi Dench

I finished reading And Furthermore by Judi Dench the other day. I really enjoy reading autobiographies and even though this one had the "As Told to John Miller" tagline, I still liked it. Judi Dench is talented actress who has certainly led an exciting life. I wasn't familiar with much of her work, but I particularly liked Judi Dench in the movie Notes on a Scandal and the television show As Time Goes By.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Postcard Killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund

The Postcard Killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund was classic Patterson, which is to say, the same old, same old. The story was interesting enough, I guess. I mean, I finished it, but I certainly didn't have the feeling of "oh, I can't wait to start reading it again."

Maybe it's just that I'm tired to James Patterson's writing. Here are my main gripes with James Patterson in general:

-  When a co-author is listed along with his name, I wonder if he even wrote a word of the book or did he discuss a plot with someone, that person wrote the book and the publisher slapped his name on there to sell books?

-  What is up with the 2-page "chapters"? I mean, I've done typesetting, desktop publishing, editing. This is such a blatant padding technique that his books would probably be about one-third the size if that little technique wasn't used.

-  Does he pull a plot out of a hat to reuse? His books all seem the same, at least the last few I've read.

Maybe I've just outgrown James Patterson's writing. What do you think? Are you a fan of James Patterson? Were you ever?

Book Read:  The Postcard Killers
Author:  James Patterson and Liza Marklund
ISBN:  978-0-316-08951-7

Saturday, July 9, 2011

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken

I finished reading An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken last night, late but it was such a moving book that I had to let it sink in a little while. This book read like a long letter that you write and never show anyone because it's too personal. And would anyone really understand? Except, of course, we understand from her superb writing.

In 2006, the novelist Elizabeth McCracken and her writer husband lost their first child, Pudding. That's what they called him while she was pregnant and so that's what they called him when he was stillborn. So very sad. But the book is funny and hopeful and so realistic.

Just a few months after Pudding, the author was pregnant again. When this child was to be born, she wrote about the labor. Of course she wrote about the labor and delivery of Pudding too. This second labor when a live baby was born was rendered wonderfully, interspersed with the discussion and thoughts of what to name the child, something they avoided since avoiding helped minimize jinxing the good that might come:

"Shall we call for anesthesia?" said the nurse who'd suggested calling for Marilyn, and I thought dreamily, Anesthesia. That's a nice name.

The book is full of such touching, off-the-wall thoughts that I felt privileged to get to read the story of Pudding and Gus.

Book read:  An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination
Author:  Elizabeth McCracken
ISBN:  978-0-316-02767-0

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Great House by Nicole Krauss

I would call this book Not So Great House if I had my say. I know I'm a reverse snob, liking the simpler things, nothing fancy. And this book just seemed fancy to me. It tried too hard. It was too convoluted to me. But I'm sure it's mostly just me.

Needless to say, this book was a struggle for me to get through. I know these literary type books often use a different format to tell a story, and sometimes that's great. But this one just didn't work for me. So, I'm not going to spend the time to work it all out.

It was basically told by four narrators, all of who owned the same massive desk (with a locked drawer) at one point or another. The story seemed disjointed and difficult, not making it easy to understand who the H was talking or where they fit in. Toward the end it started making a little more sense, but by then I just wanted to be done with it.

Did you read "Great House." Did you like it? Am I just dumb?

Book read:  Great House
Author:  Nicole Krauss
ISBN:  978-0-393-07998-2


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