Sunday, April 13, 2008

"Oh boy, here we go. The pain of childbirth. Isn't there a statute of limitations on this?"*

I returned Devil in the White City (Erik Larsen) to the library – occurred to me that for the two bucks worth of fines I will pay, I could probably pick up a used copy somewhere, perhaps with the generous gift card to Half Price Books my wonderful (ex) compatriots from the library gave me as a baby gift. I was really enjoying it, however, and the best synopsis I can give (so far) is Katya’s: “I came for the serial killer and stayed for the architecture.”

Dreamers of the Day - Mary Doria Russell. It arrived a few days ago, and I was exhibiting a weird reluctance to start it, until last night. But then I got sucked into Scramble, and decided I need to finish The Tenderness of Wolves first.

Labyrinth – Kate Mosse. Someone tell me this ISN’T Da Vinci Code for chicks…I picked it up cheap at the library sale, and would maybe like to read it someday….but…same goes for the copy of The Reluctant Fundamentalist I got for a buck yesterday. I’ll get to them all eventually, I suppose. It is to be hoped.

Accidental Tourist - Anne Tyler. I always like Tyler novels but I always forget that until I pick one up. This one is slightly dated, and the tragic catalyst that begins the novel made me go check on my sleeping children, but it’s an enjoyable, quirky little read.

Deer Hunting with Jesus - Joe Bageant. Um, I SO don’t get it. Sorry. I didn’t much care for his writing, but I might give it another shot when I get my brain back.

Tenderness of Wolves - Stef Penney. So far this reminds me of Margaret Lawrence’s historical mysteries, in which the mystery is pretty much incidental to the history. I always dig the cranky yet efficient and competent women characters, too.

Wednesday Letters – Jason Wright. Argh! Make it STOP! My eyes are bleeding! (This is precisely what you would expect from a book written by a man named Jason.)

Remembering the Bones - Frances Itani. This book was interesting, and I mean that in a good way. Why it reminded me of Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes (with a soupcon of Robertson Davies’ Deptford trilogy), but narrated by an old lady lying half dead in a ravine, I do not know…

Keeper and Kid - Edward Hardy. I really, REALLY liked this book. It reminded me, especially in skill and verisimilitude of characterization, of a Richard Russo book, only the protagonist wasn’t nearly enough of a loser to be in a Russo novel. While the entire novel is based on a somewhat ridiculous assumption, the characters are realistic and still extremely likeable. And contrary to one Facebook reviewer’s assertions, I thought the three-year-old’s dialogue was perfect.

Away - Amy Bloom. Oh my fucking God, I read three pages and wanted to slit my wrists so I sent it back to the library. That said, the writing was terrific – unsurprising considering how adept and lovely the stories were in Bloom’s A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You.

Remember Me? Sophie Kinsella’s latest offering. She trots out the unbelievable normal-slob/girl-next-door-makes-good storyline (which Gina pointed out, actually sort of made sense in the end of this book although I was skeptical even halfway through); however, Lexi is not NEARLY as neck-wringingly annoying as Becky Bloomwood.

The Ten Year Nap – Meg Wolitzer. I may go buy this one, even though I find Wolitzer’s books largely forgettable, although enjoyable and well-written enough while reading them.

The Monsters of Templeton - Lauren Groff. I’ll read this next, as there are a thousand and three holds on it (ok, a hundred-odd). And Jess just read it. I’ll keep you posted.

Naptime is the New Happy Hour. This book totally reminded me of the Suburban Bliss/Melissa Summers playdates-and-drinks debacle. And it is funny. And just when you think she’s being totally tongue-in-cheek and sarcastic, she comes out with some fundamental truth of parenting that causes you to heave an enormous sigh of relief and/or want to call her up for a playdate. All the bad-mommy clichés are present, but they’re still amusing, so…much is forgiven, if you manage to amuse me.

Other library books awaiting my eyeballs:
A Good School - Richard Yates.
Still Life Louise Penny. The first in a mystery series that looks interesting.
Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Family - Patricia Volk.
Life Class - Pat Barker. Should I admit that I always mistake Pat Barker for the horror writer, Clive Barker? But apparently Pat is quite the writer.
The Master Bedroom - Tessa Hadley. Who the heck knows why I pick up half the books I do?
Mermaids in the Basement - Michael Lee West. West wrote one of my favorite “cookbooks” ever, Consuming Passions. In fact, I just had a piece of the most delicious chocolate cake ever, from a recipe in that book, that I made for H’s birthday.

Now that dissertation defense season is wrapping up, maybe I will have time to READ some of these.

****************

*Tim Taylor

6 comments:

jessmonster said...

I always enjoy reading your book summaries, but you left me craving a slice of that chocolate cake, and for that I kind of hate you. The one with a hint of cinnamon? Okay, I both love you for introducing me to that cake and hate you for reminding me of it now, when I can't have any.

delta said...

The Labyrinth was...OK. Nothing to write home about, but if stranded on a train for twelve hours with nothing else to do probably better than gouging out one's eyes. I keep seeing it on sale for dirt cheap in book stores and thinking "Oh, I should buy that!" And then I think, oh, yeah, that's right, I already read it.

TLB said...

I'll be very interested to hear what you think of The Tenderness of Wolves when you get through it.

ssheers said...

I'm reading A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell. Have you read it?

Katya said...

ssheers: A Thread of Grace is wonderful.

bb: I'm glad you liked Devil in the White City. It's one of my favorite non-fiction books.

Liz said...

I've always longed to be BFF with Anne Tyler.

Love Accidental Tourist.