Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My books, books, books

Since my pal Lisa reviewed 11 books in a recent post, I thought I'd report in about a few I've read of late. Not that I'm near as prolific a reader as her (and keep in mind we have kids roughly the same age and she has a career (which I don't), has recently gotten her MFT license (which I didn't) and does yoga (which I don't)).
Anyway, I'll pretend I don't know that she does anything but read, because at least then I'm not revealed for the sloth that I am. So there. It's revisionist history, or rather revisionist present, since it's not much history. But I digress.
Book #1: The Linnet Bird by Linda Holeman.
This is another of my favorite genre, a historical fiction novel. Ooooh, I love it. And this one was GREAT. One of those people-who've-somehow-gotten-somewhere-even-when-it-looked-impossible and I didn't really hate the main character at any time. (You know the kind that are such strivers that even though they've overcome, you kind of want them to crash and burn for some reason. Or maybe that's just me.) This book is set in Britain in the 1800's and there's nary a positive thing I can say about Linny Gow's childhood. Think sweatshops of that era and abusive stepfathers. Ick. Anyway, it's a super interesting read, if you ask me.
Book #2: The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L Carter.
This book is long. Really long. I am perhaps just a teensy bit less patient with books than I have been in other eras of my life, but this book was beyond detail-oriented, it was tedious. I like books with believable and complicated plots (or maybe I do, I think I do. Do I?) but this book was ridiculous. Like the main character's dad who dies and leaves a complicated plan for his son to carry out, of which his son knows nothing, and forthwith goes the book. Throw in a complicated marriage, a young boy who barely speaks and a million useless pieces and you have this book. I don't understand why it got such great reviews, quite frankly. I've read many other works that are better written (like this blog, of course), more realistic and more interesting. I fell in love with approximately none of the characters and felt a kinship to about none of them. You know how sometimes you get to know a character so well, you know what their next move will be, and even with that the book doesn't become predictable? Well, not this book. I had no idea why the main guy did 99% of the things he did and yet after about 400 pages, I really didn't care. At. All. Someone tell me what is so great about this book because I certainly can't tell you.
Book #3: Gone with the Windsors by someone I can't remember.
This was a silly little book with a very silly name, but a fun read. If you are at all fascinated by royalty of the 20th century, you'd find this interseting. It's about the love affair between Crown Prince (and then King) Edward (I think that was his name) and Wallice Simpson, the divorced American as told through the diary of a friend of Wallice's. I think she's such an interesting person and he made such an interesting choice to give up the prospect of being King of England for her, when she was such an obvious social climber. If you want a light-as-a-marshmallow read, this is it. Good fun.
Book #4: Go dog Go by P.D. Eastman.
This is a current favorite of Boy #2. It's a really great book if you aren't at all interested in plot line or details. Come to think of it, it's pretty much on the other end of the spectrum from The Emperor of Ocean Park. The only issue I have with this book is that we picked it up at a yard sale and it's missing 3 pages. So at one point there are some dogs on a ferris wheel and all I know is that the narrarator is stating "Dogs going down," and I can only assume that on the previous page there were dogs going up, but once I get this work in its entirety, I'll fill you in. It's gripping, to say the least.
Book #5: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
The author was on Talk of the Nation today, and I liked her very much on audio as I did on paper. (You know how you might love a book, and then hear the author and think, "What a pompous twit" like I did when I heard Annie Proulx. Or maybe I was just in a bad mood, but she destroy my ability to read her books.) The book is basically the autobiographical story of her journey from a devastating divorce to travel around the world finding herself. The things I loved about it was that it was a quite painless read, although I admit to skimming some of the yoga-in-India section. I loved how she introduces her readers to the people in her book and you end up loving them all. A fun and interesting read that I couldn't put down.
I could go on, but beyond these books, I've recently read some book sthat I could put down. i got only about 10 pages into a Jane Smiley (Ten Days in the Hills, I think) and realized there was no reason to waste 5 more minutes on it. I started a book called The Crimson Portrait which had an interesting premise and setting (WWI England in a hospital for soldiers with facial injuries) but the plot basically didn't move for the first half of the book. I quit that one too. So I'm ending this report to say I'm proud that I finally am not wasting time on books that aren't "working" for me. If I don't like it, I no longer feel compelled to waste my time with it, the aforementioned Emperor not included. (In my defence, I felt like so many people loved that book, I just had to try to love it to. Didn't work.)
So there you have it. The moral of the story is: read more books. The end.


Blogger Amy said...

To the tree to the tree! Will they work there? Will they play there?

Go Dog Go is a definite favorite here too-- Tho I can't recall exactly which pages you must be missing. If I see another copy around here I'll send it to ya!

Thanks for the other reviews!

12:10 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

We also love Go Dog Go. A classic, for sure. I forgot to include that one 99,000 times on my review list!

I really loved Emperor of Ocean Park. I liked all the chess references. I also loved his second book, New England White, which is similar. Gosh, maybe I'm anal with all those details!!! I'm sorry you didn't love it, but it's definitely not your average run of the mill writer...

I loved Eat, Pray, Love, too, of course. My favorite line, which I now tell everyone, is when she says "having kids is like getting a tattoo on your FACE. You better be dang sure you really want it." Hilarious.

7:22 AM  
Blogger emilyruth said...

i'm so impressed by your reading abilities!
i mean i knew you could read
(& as luck would have it so can i!)
but that you actually do
very impressive indeed!
i read eat pray love
& i eat pray & loved it
(oh dear)

i'm going to try to rustle up that talk of the nation interview
(reverting back to jc!)

i always love to read your stuff, girlie
love you:)

2:31 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home