Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Amateur Marriage

Hmmm… I really don’t have much to say about this book. I read it out of desperation. I came back from my big annual trip to DC and had nothing to read and a massive cold that kept me in bed for 5 days. This book was laying around so I read it. It was good I guess. Well written, but not terribly enjoyable.

It’s about a young couple that meet at the start of World War II and fall in love and get married upon his return from service. Their marriage kind of sucks from early on (hence the title), but not in an entertaining, bickery way, more in a depressing, we need a divorce kind of way. Not exactly a bucket of laughs. The book follows their marriage over the years, eventually ending in the present day. I did get pretty engaged midway through when their 17 year old daughter runs away during the 1970s, but when it became clear that she probably wasn’t ever coming back, I got bored with that plot line. I’m adding this to the pile of books that I think would probably be more enjoyable to an older generation, kind of how I feel about most of Anne Tyler’s books really.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Last Anniversary

Finally! A chick lit author that I’d never heard of. I thought I’d heard of (and read) all the guilty pleasure authors there were to read. But now I know this is not true and it has restored my faith. I found this book on the free shelf at work and could tell from the cover design that it was perfect for the long weekend. We headed to Orcas Island on Friday afternoon and enjoyed the warm (!) and sunny (!) weather for three solid days. I’m finally not nauseous, and given that I'm standing on the precipice of being hugely pregnant, I’m in the perfect state to pick up reading again for a short while (although it does take me an extra 10 minutes and 4 pillows to get comfortable first).

In a slight departure from the usual chick lit plot line, this book takes place in Australia instead of London or New York. Luckily they still say funny things there like “light globes” instead of light bulbs and “hoovering” instead of vacuuming.

The Last Anniversary stars Sophie, a 39 year old single woman who kind of randomly inherits a house on the teeny-tiny, Scribbly Gum Island. The island is famous for The Munro Baby Mystery, in which a small baby was mysteriously abandoned by her parents, found, and then raised by two young sisters who also live on the island. The “baby” is now a grandmother and still lives on the island along with an assortment of random and entertaining relatives. Sophie moves to the island and hijinks ensue. Eventually, secrets are revealed and the “mystery” is solved. It’s witty, has a good story with entertaining characters and a touch of romance. Perfect long weekend reading in the sunshine.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

This book hit the spot for airplane reading. The story and style were better suited for a trip to the Oregon Coast or something similar, but I made do with the airplane ride to DC.

I’d heard good things about it from a fair number of people, and it delivered. It’s not epic or anything, but it’s sweet, sad and slightly romantic. The whole book is made up of letters written to and from the main character, Juliet and the various members of the GL&PPPS. The Society started during World War II on Guernsey Island, located amongst the Channel Islands between England and France. Through the letters they share their love of reading and their war stories. The society members are eclectic and their stories are told with such personality, that it’s easy to stay engaged despite the letter format of the book.

It’s a short little book and didn’t take me long to read, so I don’t have much insight to provide. Plus, I’m pretty sure everyone’s already read this book as I got more than two, “You haven’t read that yet??” responses from people who saw me reading it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I used to love Marian Keyes so much. When all else was letting me down in the book world two weeks ago, I did something I never do - re-read a book. Most avid readers love to reread their favs, but I NEVER do this. I can't explain why, I just can't maintain interest when I already know what's going to happen. But Watermelon was different. It wasn't nearly as awesome as I remembered but it still delivered what I needed - entertainment. If I'd had Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married in my possession, I would have preferred to reread that, but I didn't. So I didn't.

Watermelon is pure chick-lit - the story of a 29 year old Irish woman living in London who's husband leaves her the day she gives birth to their first child. She goes back to Ireland to recover with her parents and family. Her family is entertaining, they call vacuuming "hoovering", the main character is self-deprecating, and there is romance (and vengeance). Plus, it only took me a day to reread so I didn't have to feel bad about reading fluff.

Monday, May 4, 2009

On Beauty

This book bored me. I read Smith's first book, White Teeth when it came out and thought it was boring. When On Beauty came out, everyone assured me that this book was much better than White Teeth. I disagree. Both books are well written but both of them had boring stories with boring, fairly unlikeable characters.

Basically there's this previously happy, but now seriously unhappily married couple. The husband is a pretentious and boring white professor and his wife is a sassy but kind of boring African American woman. He cheats on her. Their unlikeable adult children have semi-interesting plot lines that don't really get resolved by the end and .... Bored! I'm too bored to finish.

Also - do you like how short my reviews have become since getting pregnant? I don't have time to mess around peoples. I've got cribs to buy, naps to take, and panic attacks to have about the fact that very soon another life will depend on me. I don't have time for books that take 200 pages to suck me in; I need books to be interesting immediately.

Any recommendations for my next read? I've been chugging through A Widow for One Year by John Irving during my lunch breaks at work, but I'm really needing something lighter. Maybe something in the chick lit category? Something with a GOOD STORY.