As usual, feel free to skip. But make sure to scroll down below to view the tale of Texas beeeeeees!
Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates - Novel about a serial killer, from his point of view. Creepy, but interesting.
The Motel Life by Willy Vlautin - Novel about two guys in trouble - This one was good, but not as good as Northline (another book by Vlautin).
All the Fishes Come Home to Roost by Rachel Brown - Memoir about growing up in an ashram in India - okay.
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan - Nonfiction - About the Dust Bowl in the thirties - This one was very good. I have no idea how some of those farmers hung on in an absolutely barren land, year after year. And I keep wondering, why didn't they move away? Their crops died year after year, their babies were dying of dust pneumonia ..... yet they stayed put. Most of them cited their "connection" with the land, but come on! Go connect with some land somewhere else, for Pete's sake! (I know this is a gross oversimplification - it just frustrated me.)
Fall On Your Knees by Ann Marie MacDonald - A great big ol' fat family saga. This woman's not afraid to tell a great big story, and that's super.
Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell - I talked about this one in another post. Interesting, but odd.
Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler. She is a stand-up comedian, and it seems like these essays would have been funnier in that format (stand-up) than as a book. I have the same problem with her as I do with David Sedaris - I have no idea which of their stories are true (the books are, after all, classified as non-fiction) and which are made up. It drives me crazy. (Oh! And speaking of driving, Ms. Handler writes about her dad driving her to school in a '67 Yugo, when in fact Yugo did not start selling cars in the U.S. until 1985. I can't believe I fact-checked that. NERD.)
Duma Key by Stephen King - I haven't liked most of his recent work, but this one was pretty good. The spooky woo-woo stuff didn't kick in until page 350 or so, which is good, because I like King best when he's just writing about ordinary people, not about haunted china dolls or whatever. But his recent stuff seems to show an author whose editor has long since stopped actually editing his work. And once the scary woo-woo stuff gets started, things get really confusing in a big hurry.
Driving to Detroit by Lesley Hazleton. Essays about cars and car culture. Meh.