Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Recently Read

As usual, feel free to skip.

1. When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris. I had read most of these stories other places, and the way he blurs the fiction/non-fiction line drives me nuts, but this is still an entertaining read.

2. Thunderhead by Mary O'Hara - Novel about a boy and his horse. I remembered this as being a kids' book, but, um ....... no. Lots of bad stuff happens and his parents almost split up, so I guess it's not really a kids' book. I enjoyed this one. Hmmmm.

3. Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham - Interesting, but I got so tired of Philip not being able to make up his mind - I just wanted to reach into the book and shake some sense into him. At least he didn't end up with that horrible Mildred.

4. The Sweet In-Between by Sheri Reynolds - Coming-of-age novel; interesting.

5. Cold Rock River by J.L. Miles - Novel about a young mother in the 60s intertwined with the journal of a slave girl in the Civil War - pretty good.

6. The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker - Novel about an extraordinarily large woman - very interesting. It's mainly about the moral choices we make.

7. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz - Novel about a family who moves from the Dominican Republic to New Jersey. It started out really good, but after a while the writing just seemed gimmicky to me. I skimmed through the last half of the book, which is embarrassing, because after all, it did win the Pulitzer Prize. Still, I'd have to give it a "meh".

8. The Family on Beartown Road by Elizabeth Cohen. Don't make the same mistake I did and assume that this is a sequel to The House on Beartown Road - it's not - it's the same book, evidently re-issued under a different name. Still, it's an interesting memoir about raising a toddler and taking care of a father with Alzheimer's at the same time.

And finally, three that I started and gave up on within the space of an hour:

Tis the Season by Lorna Landvik
Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
Miss Julia Hits the Road by Ann B. Ross

All three of these looked like light, interesting books, and I particularly like Lorna Landvik's stuff, but I picked up each one of these, read a few pages, and put them right back down. I've been trying to think why each of these was so unenjoyable, and I think it comes down to a lack of subtlety; these books hit you over the head with their Charming! Plots! and their Eccentric!Characters! and their Funny! Dialogue! and ........... blech. Of course, that's just my humble opinion.

That's all for now - I promise!


Bridgett said...

I read Big Stone Gap when I was stuck on a cross-country flight. It was....ok, I guess, but I think the situation of its reading had a lot to do with me finishing it up. She has other books that I've not been compelled to go read. I guess it's telling that I remember more about her talking about having Roseann Cash in her writing group than I do about the book itself, huh?

rockygrace said...

I'll read just about anything when I'm stuck on a plane, up to and including the Skymall catalog. Although, now that I think about it, I once tried to read a Dean Koontz book on a flight and failed miserably.

Bridgett said...

Never have read anything by Dean Koontz. Now my teacher friends are trying to get me to read some series of teen novels about vegetarian vampires and can't imagine why I'm not compelled to run right out and get a copy. You just want to say "are you listening to yourself here? What the hell is a vegetarian vampire?"

rockygrace said...

Vegetarian vampires - They don't want to suck your blood, they just want your V-8.

kitkat said...

I used to read Dean Koontz back when I was a teenager--the same group of people reading about those vegetarian vampires :)

I too loathe books that hit you over the head with everything. How about a mystery-thriller where you know everything several chapters before the characters do--DaVinci Code anyone? I had to read The Memory Keeper's Daughter for a book club I joined, and that too was like Symbolism! Internal Struggle! Ugh.