Monday, January 28, 2013

The Good House (Ann Leary)

Hmmm.. I couldn't wait to read this and when I finally got my hands on it the first chapter was so-so for me. I thought it was going to be about another uppity rich woman who complains and throws out brand names like rice on a wedding day but Hildy grew on me. I also thought I would get tired of the mentioning of being a drinker and alcoholic and all the denial but it was balanced within the juicy tale that Mrs. Leary tells. It was funny and paced quite quick. I enjoyed the characters and even the horse show part even though i'm not into horses. Then on top of it all I find out she's the Leary of the Denis Leary-variety- she's his wife! I love Denis leary and wondered what it was about that family and alcohol since his character on Rescue me is a thriving (somewhat) alcoholic and she's written a book based on a witty alcoholic. I also liked that it was based in New England being a CT girl myself. I look forward to more from this writer.

The Bean Trees (Barbara Kingsolver)

''it's also interesting how it's hard to be depressed around a three-year-old, if you're paying attention. After a while, whatever you're mooning about egins to seem like some elaborate adult invention." This was my first Kingsolver book that I finished and I have an idea that they are not all like this, more recently centering around Worldly events I will try more, especially the sequel to this, Pigs in Heaven, and hope that they are as charming. This reminds me of Anne Lamott's books. All the ones featuring Rosie. Something about the writing and description of the scenery and the protagonists thoughts being slightly sarcastic and hippie like. I liked this story featuring a girl, Taylor who took off from home to find her way and came upon a girl she named Turtle that was more or less thrusted upon her and came into her custody. I liked her roommate and her slightly neurotic and truly female ways. I liked the immigration-cause that lingered on the periphery so that we know the author is probably speaking through her characters when we see how unfair immigration laws are. Or whatever. I liked this book and will be reading more, providing they are better than the Poisonwood bible. Tried that and got bored and aggravated with it.

After The Workshop (John McNally)

I really liked this book! Told in short chapters the story of a guy who was a media escort, driving around big time authors when he himself was one once upon a time in the Iowa Workshop. The protagonist had a short story published in the New Yorker and then everything went down hill. He ends up losing one of his authors and we find out why she disappears. He just can't seem to get anything right. It's not over the top chaos but he seems to run into the same people and lots of drinking is involved, eccentric writers, ego's competing because aren't most authors really attention starved?? I think he has a keen eye for the writing community esp the pretentious Iowa workshop people. Overall it's not the Great American Novel or anything but I think most of the stuff I like to read as opposed to what I'm told I shoudl be reading (the russians, Joyce, Steinbeck, et all etc.) I like a good fun romp through interesting minds and McNally has an interesting mind to say the least.

The Sisters Brothers (Patrick DeWitt)

I loved this book. First it was the cover that intrigued me. I had picked it up at the library when it first came out but then after reading the summary I was put off. Gold Rush?? outlaws? eh, not my thing. BUT like other books that I think are not my thing it remained in my periphery until I scanned the first couple pages and got sucked it. Sucked into what?? I don't even know because honestly the book isn't about a whole heck of a lot. There's some killing but for me it was all about the narration. Eli Sister tells the story of him and his brother, Charlie as they are hired to kill a guy a named Warm. That's pretty much it. We know that Warm took money from the big boss guy, The Commodore but I guarantee anyone who's read this will agree we aren't rooting for the protagonist as if we follow thinking yeah that son of a bitch Warm needs to be done in because it's not about that at all. It's all about the inner thoughts of Eli and how interesting his character is and the bond between him and his brother who is the more heartless of the two. We learn a little about the goldrush but that might only serve as background really. Yeah, this books was awesome for me based purely on the way it was written; which is simple language, short chapters, dark humor and a entertaining narrator.

The Fault In Our Stars (John Green)

I love yoga and thought it was cool and perfect that it became trendy to write about it. But then just because you're interested in something as a subject doesn't mean it's going to make for a good story. But there was a gem or two that I enjoyed a lot but then since I can't remember the names, it says a lot of about the impression they made. Anyway, my point is that some books are enjoyable just because of the subject matter that you're interested in and some books are great because the author is gifted. John Irving comes to mind since I don't really care about apple orchards, tattoo places and how to deal with granite monuments but I adore his style. Anne lamott and Wally lamb too. Some authors can write about the art of mixing paint and I'll buy the book. And then there are those lovely people that aren't big named hollywood types that pump out mass market paperbacks left and right and they do have something to say and lovely way of saying it. Enter John Green. His latest is my first (but not my last) and boy am I glad I finally gave in to what was catching my eye for several months. I'm quite finicky about when I read books. Moods, timing etc. And I'm resistant to a lot of YA. I get bored with the teenage dialogue and feel that a lot of authors, adult authors that write YA books don't get it right. But there was something about the cover that kept me thinking about it even though it dealt with star crossed lovers and their unfortunate cancers. I couldn't stop reading this. Literally. I started Sunday morning and finished Sunday afternoon. I believed in the scenarios. I felt like Hazel and her parents were real. I loved Augustus and wished there were real teenagers like him. And I devoured the quirkiness.. I adored every little thought, mood, complaint, joke, feeling and inevitable ending. I loved the author Hazel had wanted to meet so badly and was so let down. (I have to say that reading the absurd behavior reminded me of john kennedyTools' confederacy of dunces- ignatius j reilly a little and I believe he should be brought back from the dead but that's for another book) and I loved how the pace went swiftly and every assumption and prediction (besides what was inevitable) was proved wrong. I loved that William Carlos Williams' red wheelbarrow was used because I hate most all poetry except this poem and i loved the parents and the dealing with something so real and the topic of death so universal and feared and how it was dealt with, it never really is and we are all afraid of oblivion even if we don't admit it. anyway this book was sad and sweet and not just for the YA population but for anyone who likes to read about life (and all it's video games and disabilities it may include). I didn't cry but i hurt a little in my chest. I didn't want it to end and probably felt a little like Hazel each time she reads her book. I hope in sequel (imagined or otherwise) she finds out what happens to the mother even if she makes it up herself. Oh and Augustus is the kind of guy I would love my daughter to have in her life

Her Last Death (Susanna Sonnenberg)

I love those books that you haven't been reading about or pining after and then they usually fall under your expectations or maybe meet them but then there's no surprise because it's what you expected. Then there are the books that you stumbled on without any urging from other reviewers or barnes and noble lists or goodreads suggestions etc etc etc. The books that jump out at you at the library or maybe you read something about a new book but the review mentions an old book and that's the one you look into and that's the one that charms you for the next day or two. Her Last Death was just that book for me. I was looking at BookPage at the library where I work and it was, as usual, chock full of books for the new year and susanna sonnenberg was in it for her new book about friendship. This appealed to me (I don't have many friends, haha) but what got me glued was her old book, a memoir about her mother. I am a sucker for memoirs by people with mommy issues. This book was unreal. Not unbelievable but unreal in that a person such as Daphne proves that the head is independent of the body; as in as what a nutjob to be able to reproduce. She is a liar, a slut, a selfish bitch of a woman and the daughter, Susanna and her sister, Penelope had to grow up in such a fucked up environment. There's a lot of sex in the book and I cringe at the thought of a mother constantly talking to her daughter about sex and how a boy/man is in bed. It's just crossing lines. Then there's drugs and more sex,not graphic details because we all know it's about but the idea that it was a huge part of this writer's childhood and life. I loved the writing. It skipped over parts and went back to different times but wasn't confusing. I felt for the writer and how powerful her words were; how truthful and raw she exposed herself (good and bad) and it wasn't looking for pity. I didn't get that; if someone comes across as pathetic i get annoyed and won't finish the book. This one I devoured. What a mother. I thought mine was ridiculous. Talk about perspective.

She Matters (Susanna Sonnenberg)

This is the truest account of friendships between women that I have ever read. Susanna can write about anything and I'll just swoon over her poetic voice but this book exemplifies what it's really like to be a woman looking for kinship in this generation. She has a plethora of people who come into her life at various points and she recounts with great detail the occasions that brought them together, what kept them afloat and then more often than not what broke them up. Some of it is sad, some triumphant some a little dark and vulnerable but such an echo to my life... even if I haven't had all the experiences I know I've had all the feelings all the hangups all the confusion and jealousy and equality etc etc etc. She is a wonderful person to read as a woman, a mother a friend and an aching heart.