Some of My Favorite Books

Friday, May 31, 2013

Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess

Okay, I went from Room, which was totally wonderful but in a serious way, to
Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir), which was totally wonderful but in a weird and funny way.

I'm not sure which rock I'd been hiding under, but I had never heard of The Bloggess (aka Jenny Lawson) till my friend Julie (Thanks, Julie!) sent me this book. Evidently Ms. Lawson has been hilariously blogging for quite a few years. She is--to put it succinctly--a hoot.

This book starts strong with tales of her weird and wonderful childhood and gets a tad serious in the middle when she writes about her myriad ailments then ends with a satisfyingly silly take on her book tour.

Have you read this memoir? Will you? Do you read The Bloggess? I think I'll have to start.

Book Read:  Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)
Author: Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess

Friday, May 24, 2013

Wow! Fabulous Book! Room by Emma Donoghue

Have you read Room by Emma Donoghue? If so, you know how good it is. If not, do! This book is so unique and compelling. I loved it.

Jack is five years old and lives in Room with Ma. His ma was kidnapped at age 19 and Jack was the result of the repeated rapes by her kidnapper. 

The beginning of the book is all about Ma and Jack's small life inside Room. It's exhausting to think about how they pass the time and have to live in their tiny world. 

Then the book opens up with some changes that I won't get into. I don't want to spoil if for you if you haven't read Room. It's really an amazing novel from a child's point of view. It's charming and funny and scary, all wrapped up in Rug.

Book Read:  Room
Emma Donoghue

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Edge of the Earth by Christina Schwarz

I finished reading The Edge of the Earth by Christina Schwarz last night, and like many novels I've really liked all the way through, this one ended sort of abruptly for my taste.

I mean Christina Schwarz wrote the wildly popular Drowning Ruth, which ended "strangely," which is to say it ended with a revelation that makes you go "Well, oh. Okay." This one ended better, I think, but it ended all at once. A lot was packed into the final 20 or 30 pages, and I liked the ending, but it made me say, "Hmmm." It's like a meal that looks really good but that isn't all that satisfying. Or maybe it's that you have to keep chewing awhile to get the full pleasure and meaning.

Read The Edge of the Earth if you like literary fiction and historical stories and science. 

And while we're on the subject of Ms. Schwarz, have you read All Is Vanity? It is fabulous! After Drowning Ruth, All Is Vanity was quite the turn for her to take. I'm glad she did. It's one of my all-time favorite books!

Her third novel So Long at the Fair was good, but to me, it wasn't great.
Have you read any of Christina Schwarz's books? Which one is your favorite? 

Book Read:  The Edge of the Earth
Christina Schwarz

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn a Winner!

Last night I finished reading Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. Since this was her debut novel and I read it last, I just realized I read her books in reverse order:
  • I read Gone Girl first; she wrote it last.
  • Then I read Dark Places; she wrote it second. Well, I read this one in the right order!
  • And I just finished Sharp Objects, her first novel.
And they were all good. Very good. I liked Sharp Objects for its frank look at a woman who cut herself. The lead up to this revelation made it all the more plausible. Frankly I wouldn't do that, but Flynn made it seem like a logical act by this character. (I don't want to give anything away so won't say the character's name or say more.)

This novel was suspenseful while being realistic. No earth-shattering tricks were played, and I did figure out whodunnit (sort of!). Some weird little details played out in the final pages, making this quite a pleasure to read!

This quote by Stephen King sums up this book well:  "An admirably nasty piece of work, elevated by sharp writing and sharper insights."

Have you read any of Gillian Flynn's books? If so, what did you think?

Book Read:  Sharp Objects
Author:  Gillian Flynn

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dwarf by Tiffanie DiDonato with Rennie Dyball: Don't Bother

Well, I rarely finish books that I don't like but I did like the subject matter of this one so I plugged away. But this book Dwarf by Tiffanie DiDonato written with Rennie Dyball was not well written, which made slogging through it harder than plowing through a snow drift without the help of a shovel. 

One plus to this book:  Dwarf was short. Pun fully intended. But seriously, if this book had been much longer, I'd have slammed it shut and walked away.

Amazingly, Dwarf has a 4.2- out of 5-star rating on Amazon. I have no idea how. In addition to the bad writing, Tiffanie is a self-centered, spoiled woman. Her parents coddled her, and probably especially because of her dwarfism. I think that does no one any favors so right off the bat that turned me off. She did endure horrible surgeries to first correct her bones from their abnormal growth then later she had elective bone-lengthening surgeries and follow up where she had to turn screws in her legs and arms to length her limbs.

I just didn't find this "author" to be likeable in any way. Her story was unique and interesting to read from a medical standpoint, but her nastiness regarding a teacher who said she was a dwarf (She is a dwarf! This shouldn't have been a surprise. Good grief!) in class showed her true colors. And those colors weren't pretty.

Book Read:  Dwarf
Author:  Tiffanie DiDonato with Rennie Dyball

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

Can Jodi Picoult write a bad book? No, I don't think she can. I finished reading The Storyteller and once again was amazed at her storytelling prowess.

This novel is a departure from her "normal" books. It's set partly in present day where Sage Singer is a baker who works nights and is carrying on an affair with a married man (a funeral director) and in the 1930s and 1940s before and during World War II. Minka, Sage's grandmother, is a young Jewish teenager living with her family in Poland when the Nazis take over. 

Minka writes stories, and a few pages of the main story she is writing are interspersed after each chapter of the book--present day or during the war. Then during the part of the book where Minka is living through World War II, the story becomes part of the bigger story. 

This book is amazing. It was really hard to read in places, and a few nights I had strange dreams after going to sleep right after reading it. So, I read the rest of the hard-to-read parts (the concentration camp narrative) during the day. I'd recommend you do the same, but maybe it won't bother you like it did me.

In any case, don't let that stop you from reading The Storyteller. It is one of the best stories of World War II I've read.

Book Read:  The Storyteller
Author:  Jodi Picoult


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