Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Fiction's about what it is to be a human being."*

I've been reading me some books:

I Am Legend – Richard Matheson. I imagine this would make a terrific movie but not having seen any of the versions, I don’t know. The book was OK. The ending shocked me. I did not feel compelled to read any of the short stories included in the volume the library chose to send to me.

Certain Girls - Jennifer Weiner. A decent read, an easy read (I whipped through it in two days). The alternating chapters, between Cannie and her daughter Joy, grew increasingly distracting. I did not LOVE it but I certainly liked it well enough and am happy to give Jennifer Weiner, who seems like a very nice woman, my money.

Mermaids in the Basement - Michael Lee West. I can’t recall if I already talked about this book but I liked it well enough that on a sojourn to Half Price Books last week I scooped up three more by West. Her characters are weird and quirky and funny, her families are all nuts, and the food is reliably delectable. (Note that the book that turned me on to West is her cookbook, Consuming Passions, both a fabulous read and a fabulous cookbook.)

Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Family - Patricia Volk. Eh. I expected more food, less exposition. Her family is weird, too, but not nearly as lovably weird as West’s.

Monsters of Templeton - Lauren Groff. Groff is going to be a formidable force in the fiction world in the coming decades. As with David Mitchell, Allegra Goodman, and Kate Atkinson, I think Groff is going to develop into a stellar novelist and look forward to the journey with her. She’s already nothing to sneeze at; her debut is intelligent and fun (I don't know, think Possession (but not quite so academic or focused)...maybe crossed with Goodman’s family characterizations and a smidgen of weird creature-feature stuff. There's a whiff - like you'd wave the vermouth bottle over your martini? - of Richard Russo, and some Gothicky, Rebecca-like stuff, too.)

An Uncommon Reader - Alan Bennett. What a totally charming little book.

And here’s something exciting: David Sedaris has a new book coming out.

In other news, I seem totally unable to finish Tenderness of Wolves, we are having waffles and sausage for dinner which is a sure thing, and I just mixed up a batch of brownies from a mix that was languishing in my pantry because the Nigella recipe I planned to use called for A CUP AND TWO-THIRDS of butter - and I didn't have enough.


*David Foster Wallace (aka Gina's Boyfriend)


Sarah Louise said...

I'm half way through Certain Girls. Fascinating to remember in my mind how the lives of moms and teenagers are so different.

TLB said...

I had trouble getting through The Tenderness of Wolves too. It gets better.

Badger said...

I've had Monsters of Templeton and An Uncommon Reader on my wishlist FOR-FREAKING-EVER. But I can't buy any more books. Er, for the rest of the week, at least.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

It's funny you should mention DFW, my straight boyfriend, as you mentioned David Sedaris and Alan Bennett, two of my gay boyfriends. Bennett's Untold Stories is amazing and interesting and witty and wise, just like he is.

David said...

my recollection is that neither film adaptation of I am Legend uses the book ending.

consensus says they are worse off having made that decision, but I think you can see why the film execs would be like "you CAN'T end it like THAT!"

Jess said...

Thanks for the tip on David Sedaris - thanks to you I'm only #5 on hold (as opposed to putting it on hold when I get the book to process it and realize there are already 5 million holds).

Caro said...

I want to read Certain Girls. I loved Good In Bed. But the reviews on Certain Girls said the ending sucked. Did you think the ending sucked? If you didn't, I may try the book.

Sarah Louise said...

Caro, re: Certain Girls: The ending was NOT what I expected, I who cheated and read the last page. So I knew part of the end, but not the whole of it. It didn't suck. (in my humble humble opinion.)

Caterina said...

I'm supposed to read Certain Girls (book club). So I appreciate the review and comments. I'm a crappy (more like lazy) reader, so it is encouraging when I hear good things about a book I'm going to read.

BabelBabe said...

i dont want to give anything anyway - but the ending did not suck. However, it WAS a cop-out, I thought.

and now, I can say no more. : )