Remember when I posted my Summer Reading list just, oh, a month ago? Well, I read all of them! And then some! It helps that I’ve been traveling and traveling and traveling, which means I’ve been reading and reading and reading. I was lucky to have selected a stack of books that were overwhelming fun, excellent and quick to read. All of the books get two thumbs up from me, but here are some short thoughts on each:
Bel Canto: The story was intricate and poetic. The epilogue, however, came out of nowhere. I learned from an interview with Patchett that the epilogue was actually intended as the framework of the whole story, but I do not think it fit well at all. It is a heavy book, not only because it is sad and dramatic, but also in the way the language is used. It’s not a traditional beachcomber book, but it was a great read. I’m also excited because I recently scored tickets to Patchett’s talk at the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures series next April.
Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls: Sedaris’ earlier books were focused almost entirely on retelling funny stories about his family, and I would howl on the floor laughing. Sedaris has now moved toward short fictional pieces and stories about his travels. Seeing as I was traveling while I read this book and because I share similar disgruntlements while traveling (I hate everyone.) I thought the book was clever and relatable. I was smirking the whole way through. Love it.
The Darlings: The wealth and power of the characters in this book is so foreign to me. The story is engaging but the characters fell a little flat. Not the next Great American Novel, but not a bad use of my reading time either.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane: This book, alongside Coraline, suggests Gaiman’s got some serious mommy issues, but interestingly, he also weaves in very strong female leads. Ocean was magical and fun and everything perfect for a summer book.
I also read:
Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller. MIller shares her story of growing up with hoarder parents. This is none of the gawking of the Hoarder’s TV show. Miller explores with care the complicated interplay between her love for her parents and the incredible trauma they put her through with their compulsions. One thing that I admired in MIller above all else is that not only did she intervene and clean up the hoarding for her parents once, she did it time and time and time again. She was also blessed with amazing friends who helped her with the terrible task. I can’t imagine the strength and patience she has to still love her parents, after she had cleaned out their hoarding-filled house, only for it to be completely filled again months later. (BONUS: This is available to borrow for free on the Kindle Owners Lending Library).
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer: After hearing Jeni speak at BSP 4, I knew two things: 1. I NEED TO GO GET SOME JENI’S ICE CREAM, and 2. I needed to read her James Beard Award winning book. I haven’t made it out to the store yet to fulfill the first desire, but I did download her book and read it in one night (cookbooks are quick reading). The tone of the book is very ethereal, maybe even sappy-optimistic, but at BSP4 Jeni showed herself to be clever and funny and sarcastic and all things amazing. Now I need an ice cream maker so I can try out these recipes. Or I will die.
Brilliance by Marcus Sakey. I could NOT put this book down. It’s a futuristic us-vs-them story involving people with superpowers. I’m not gonna lie, it’s been done before many times (X-men, Heroes, etc etc etc) but it is still EXCITING and fun and awesome and you need to read this right now. NOW. (Also a free borrow with the Kindle Owners Lending Library).
AND NOW, FRIENDS– a few months back I reviewed the new YA novel, Straightjacket, by Meredith Towbin. Straightjacket has the chops for massive popularity, but it just needs the distribution. NOW it has the chance! Help a young author out! WalMart is running a contest to select a new product to distribute in its stores, and Straightjacket is right up there in the running. Meredith made a video promoting her book (the promo involves snuggies! SNUGGIES. How can you resist SNUGGIES?) and she needs all of our help to make it happen! Please visit the contest page RIGHT HERE, watch her video and VOTE VOTE VOTE for her! You can vote once a day through September 2.
If you want to learn more about Meredith and Straightjacket, you can check her out all over the internets:
Barnes & Noble: http://ow.ly/hMq9f
Please note that this post is not a sponsored post. This post is motivated by my own interests in that I really enjoyed Straightjacket, and would love to see a young author succeed. I hope you feel the same and VOTE VOTE VOTE for Straightjacket!