Thursday, October 17, 2013

Recently Read

As usual, skip it if you wanna.

1.  Rennie's Way by Verna Mae Slone - Semi-autobiographical novel about a woman growing up in the Appalachians in the twenties.  Very good.

2.  Nora, Nora by Anne Rivers Siddons - Novel about a girl coming of age in the South  in the sixties, and about her free-wheeling cousin who arrives and shakes the town up.  Good.

3.  One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus - Novel about a (fictional) governmental program in the 1870s to send "unfit" women to be Native American brides.  Preposterous set-up, but the story, written as journal entries of one of the women, is interesting, and the ending (spoiler alert) is absolutely heartbreaking.  I sat in the backyard in a lawn chair on a bright sunny summer day and absolutely sobbed as I read.  Very good.

4.  The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen - Novel about an unhappy woman who finds another woman living in her closet.  Chick lit, but not in bad way.  A quick read, if not as interesting as Allen's "Garden Spells".  It'd make a good Lifetime movie.

5.  Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles - Novel about a family of women in depression-era Texas.  Fascinating storyline and beautifully written.   I really, really liked this one.  The author has a true gift with words and phrases.  Highly recommended.

6.  The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini - I read her book "The Quilter's Homecoming" and enjoyed it, but this one was just a tad too ... there wasn't any there there, if that makes any sense.  The plot wasn't interesting enough to keep me going.  I didn't finish this one.

7.  Strange Fruit by Lillian Smith - Novel about race relations in the South in the 1920s.  Almost a hundred years later, I'm not sure how much has changed.

8.  Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin - Novel about the child who posed for Alice in Wonderland.  Set in Victorian England, a setting for which I have no patience ("and then his hand brushed against her forearm, and she felt a chill pass through her" type of thing - meh.)  Didn't finish.

9.  Horns by Joe Hill - Novel about a guy who wakes up after a night of partying to discover that he's grown horns.  Interesting, and lots of plot twists, and a book I kept thinking about even when I wasn't reading it.

10.  The Ice Master by Jennifer Niven - Account of a doomed 1913 Arctic exploration.  Well-written, but depressing.  I got about ninety pages in and decided that I didn't want to stick around to find out who made it and who didn't.

11.  A Cure for Dreams by Kaye Gibbons - Short novel about a woman during the Depression.  I loved Ms. Gibbons' "Charms for the Easy Life", and this one is good as well.

12.  Movie review time!  "Ted", with Mark Wahlberg and a talking bear.  Jury's still out as to which one was the worse actor.

14.  Saving Grace by Lee Smith - I find Ms. Smith's books kind of hit-or-miss,  but this one, about an Appalachian woman who is the daughter of a snake handler and becomes the wife of a preacher, was good.

15.  Reba by Reba McEntire with Tom Carter - Autobiography.  I really like Reba, but this book was just ...boring.  Dry.  "First I did this,  then I sang this, then I married this guy ... "  Meh.

16.  Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty - Novel about high-schoolers circa 2001.  The problem is, the author was so determined to jam in every current pop culture reference possible, that reading the book twelve years later just makes it seem impossibly dated.  Didn't finish.

Okay, so that's what I've been reading lately. You?


~~Silk said...

I just bought "Horns". Haven't opened it yet. Did you know that Joe Hill is Stephen King's son? The photo on Wikipedia even looks like a young King.

rockygrace said...

I did know that, ~~Silk! Have you ever read any Tabitha King (Stephen's wife)?

~~Silk said...

I'm not absolutely sure, but I think I read some of Mrs. King's short stories a long time ago, and they reminded me of Joyce Carol Oates. I think that was her.

JCO is the darling of the New Yorker magazine set, which, as far as I'm concerned, is not a recommendation.

It's possible I have not given either writer a fair trial.

rockygrace said...

I have never managed to make it through a Joyce Carol Oates book.

I don't think Tabitha King has written anything lately (not that she published, anyway), but I really liked her book "One on One".

Becs said...

I read Black Water by JCO. I have yet to be able to make it through one of Tabitha King's novels, though. And on your recommendation, just got the Joe Hill novel from the library. Plus, he was the one who came up with the ending for 11/22/63, which to me made it the best Stephen King book other than The Stand.

~~Silk said...

JCO's writing reminds of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Dangling Conversation". Love the song. Dislike the dangling conversations themselves.