Friday, November 11, 2011

August, September and October Books

Beat by Amy Boaz- This was a book club read and it was sort of "meh". It's about a woman who flees her marriage with her 7 year old daughter to Paris. Sounds exotic, but in the end most to all of the characters are unlikeable and ... who am I kidding? As soon as you read "meh" you skipped to the next book review, because who is going to go out of their way to find a book at the library (because something tells me it would be hard to find this one at Barnes and Noble (it's currently for sale on Amazon for 1 penny) that was summed up as "meh"?

Super Sad True Love Story - So I totally hated this book, BUT I get the impression it's very polarizing and many people really love it. As opposed to "Beat" which I think most people would agree is unanimously mediocre, this book is probably still worth reading despite my strong dislike for it. This book smacked of all sorts of things that rubbed me wrong and while I could go on and on, I'm not feeling like picking a fight right at this moment.

Essentially, it boiled down to the fact that this was an extremely negative book that paints a very grim picture of the US in the not too distant future. It's filled with what I guess could be described as very dark humor that I did not think was very funny. I would compare it to that person you know who says things like, "I'm just kidding" or "I'm just being honest" when really they are just being an asshole. It wore the costume of humor, but under the mask, I felt a sea of bitterness, anger and pettiness lurking.

I read for pleasure and escape, not to have all the terrible things about America made more terrible and rubbed in my face. I have a 2 year old - I have enough unpalatable things thrown in my face all the time; I don't need to add Debby Downer books to the list.

The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins - Loaned to me by my Mom. I really enjoyed this book, but it wasn't until a third of the way through that I really dug my heels in and felt addicted. This is narrated by a 12 year old Irish boy who lives with his father and extended family as "Travelers" (aka gypsies) in the 1950s. Solid plot, well told and it captured an interesting slice of life that I don't think I've read about before.

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood - I read this quite a long time ago now and barely remember it. I do remember being alternately very into this book and then going through phases of boredom. To sum up my vague memory of this book: a kind of creepy story about a female prisoner in a women's facility in the early 1900's (I think? Maybe it was the 1800's) for a double murder where you can't ever quite figure out whether she killed the guys or not. Which I suppose is the point, but I like a reward at the end of chugging through a thick mystery and while this one had a bit of a reveal, it wasn't quite enough to satisfy me.

Library book that I couldn't finish - It was called Something and Something... maybe George and Aurther? Something like that. Two dudes names. Anyways, the author sounded vaguely familiar and the plot sounded interesting but in reality it was quite boring. I kept waiting for the two guys to cross paths like was promised on the book jacket. But once I got like 400 pages in and still no sign of path-crossing, I grew irritated and returned it before racking up crazy late fees at the Library.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett- Amazing, wonderful and totally consistent with everything from Ann Patchett. Boy do I have an author crush on her. She really knows how to make up a good story and then develop fascinating characters. I could care less about how implausible some parts may be - it was still one of the best books I've read this year and you should totally choose this for your next book club pick.

The Brightest Star in the Sky - The latest Marian Keyes book. Not bad I guess. I should probably just reread Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married and see if it's still as good (in a guilty pleasure way) as I remember, because none of Marian's recent books have lived up to that standard for me. But maybe it's like my memory of that show Rags to Riches from the 80's - entirely colored by the fact that I was like 7. Except with Marian Keyes I was probably more like 23. Maybe Marian Keyes is just better left for the 23 year olds out there.

Looking for Bobowicz by Daniel Pinkwater - this is a weird book my Dad gave me. It's kind of meant for kids, but not really. It was smart, amusing and took a day or two to read but I never would have picked it up myself. It's about some kids who like comic books and go hunting for a giant chicken that supposedly roamed the streets of their small NY suburb 20 years ago. I told you it was weird.


Blythe said...

I'm so glad you posted this. I'm a third of the way through State of Wonder and I was trying to figure out if I should keep going. Thanks to your warm review I'm going to polish it off over Thanksgiving while the fam stuffs my 2 year old with pumpkin pie.

Care said...

I love your reviews! And what an interesting mix of books (and thoughts). I loaned Outside Boy to my mom and she liked it but now I don't know where it is. I own Alias Grace and will get it someday cuz I like Atwood. I will probably get to State of Wonder - might be a safe choice for my book club. Might check out the last book because I am a little curious now. Happy December