Saturday, May 31, 2008

My Book Binge

So today is the last day of May, and the Book Binge is over. Would you look at how many books Mary P. has read? And she has more toddlers in her house than I do! (She's their caregiver, if you haven't read her blog before.)

So here's my list. I mentioned some of these in yesterday's post. Some of them are really good.

T is for Trespass, by Sue Grafton. 4 stars. For the first time, Grafton alternates between narrating the story from P.I. Kinsey Millhone's point of view and the perspective of the villain. Therefore, you know what crimes the villain is committing; the suspense comes from whether Kinsey will be able to stop her in time.

Don't Stop Laughing Now. Two stars. Anthology of humor for Christian women. I read funnier blogs on a daily basis, Christian or not.

Practically Perfect in Every Way, Jennifer Niesslein. Four stars. I'm going to review this for a site soon. The author, the co-founder of Brain, Child magazine, took on the task of following several self-help gurus' advice for every area of her life: organizing her home, parenting, marriage, health, spirituality, etc. It was an interesting read; Niesslein is able to examine what's going on in her life in light of what she's reading, and to make relevant points about modern life for the reader to think about.

Fairacre Festival, by Miss Read. Four stars. For my escapism, I don't read about movie stars in L.A. or editors in New York. I like cozy novels about small English towns where the drama is small but real to the people involved, and life moves at a slower pace.

The Areas of My Expertise, by John Hodgman. Three stars. I thought I'd never get through this book of random, mostly made-up trivia. Parts of it were really funny (FYI, John Hodgman has since become the "PC" in the Apple ads) but others didn't appeal to me, and I kept putting the book down to read something else.

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. Four stars. I kept thinking I was probably the last avid reader in the world not to have read this book, but I finally did because I figured it had to have something to recommend it since so many people loved it. It's a story about how two boys who grow up together are torn apart by the events in Afghanistan from the seventies up to the present day. Powerful and emotionally affecting.

The Wonder Spot, by Melissa Bank. Three stars. The story of Sophie Applebaum, a young woman's attempts to find love and a career in New York City (if it sounds familiar, it's nothing like SATC.) Here's what I said on I thought the book was well-written and perceptive but I got tired of Sophie's passivity and her inability to commit to a relationship or a career. And as so many other readers have commented, I thought the ending was contrived. My favorite part of the book is actually the chapter in which her sharp-tongued grandmother has a stroke and becomes sweet--if only it weren't combined with a description of an annoying doctor Sophie is dating. Although each chapter can stand alone, Bank makes desultory attempts to connect the chapters by reminding us of certain characters, but they drop in and out of Sophie's life in a disconcerting way. Bank is a talented writer, and this book does aim higher than chick lit, but the book is too detached to engage my empathy.

Okay, that was long-winded. But that's what I do when I talk about books. Feel free to ask follow-up questions or give me your own recommendations. (BTW, Mrs. Romero, I checked Twilight out of the library this week and will start it soon.)


  1. I can't believe you read this much. I'm very upset with myself right now. I'm reading A Prayer for Owen Meany again (for like the fourth time or something ludicrous) and I am not enjoying it as much as I should be. It seems to have grown more boring filler over the last decade while I wasn't looking. I should just put it down and still pretend I love it!

  2. Wow, I feel like a loser, I don't read nearly enough

  3. Wow! You are sure a reader! I'm ashamed to tell you...I not too much a reader....

  4. You are not the last! I still haven't read Kite Runner although I really want to, I just need more time and less blogs!

  5. I haven't read that blog, but I don't think I'd like my day care provider to read that many books in a month because she either reads every waking moment she's not taking care of the kids, or she's reading quite a bit when the kids are there. AND she's blogging?!

    I can't seem to finish a book lately. I abandoned two books in May, and I will finish the third one I started, but obviously not until June. Oh well.

  6. Le Guz, she seems like a good caretaker. From reading her posts, I gather that she is very hands-on with the kids. I believe she has them all on the same nap schedule and that's when she reads or blogs. That's the extent of my defense because I don't know any more about her than what she says --but I do like her perspective on how to handle tantrums and childish misbehavior.

  7. I thought I was the last avid reader to recently read The Kite Runner! I just finished Stephanie Meyer's, "The Host". I have Practically Perfect sitting right here, its next in line!

    And to Le Guz... some people are really fast readers, I would expect she is reading during nap time and n the evening. Depending on the book, I only need a few hours... especially if it's really good!

  8. Ah, Sue Grafton. When my son was born, I feared a recurrance of the post-partum depression I experienced with my first. (Mild, but even mild is horrible.) Five days after his birth, a friend brought over A is for Alibi. I devoured it, and then, because the friend had the whole series written at that time, I read my way through the first several books of the alphabet! Whenever the waves of darkness threatened the edges of my consciousness, I either had a nap or read another chapter.

    I credit Sue Grafton with saving me from a second bout of PPD.

  9. "Five days after his birth, a friend..." Snort. Make that "Five days after my son's birth, a friend..."