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11.14.2009

reading recap.

okay. so here goes. quick write ups and recommendations.


A HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS
by DAVE EGGERS

i might make a lot of non-friends by saying this, but i didn't like it. i took it to australia with me and it took an interminable amount of time to get through. i think it really is just a question of taste. yes, it was well written, but i lost track of the story being told and felt like i was just moving in circles with a marginal amount of forward movement (interestingly enough, this was the very reason i didn't like WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE {the film} co-penned by eggers). i will say, all the reviews and critics commented on eggers anger, while i was struck not by anger at all, but a profound sadness--which raises the question how different are the two things, really?

WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR
by DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN

one of the great things about the high school i went to was the caliber and frequency with which we received really unbelievable public speakers. and to this day, doris kearns goodwin (presidential historian) remains the best i've ever seen. this fact, combined with my love of baseball and history made this book a must-read for me (i'm actually surprised it took me so long to get around to it). while goodwin is not an unparalleled writer, her words are simple and clear and the story itself is lovely. i've come to realize there are two types of books i like to read--those that i read in bed in the morning or before sleep, and those that i take on the subway. the books i like to read on the subway tend to be more information based and this was certainly a great subway book. not to mention the love story of her mother and father was particularly moving--i blogged a wee bit about it, here.

THE HELP
by KATHRYN STOCKETT

my mom insisted i read this debut novel by kathryn stockett and i'm really glad i did. it's the perfect in-bed read. stockett does a fantastic job of giving voice to a diverse group of women. set in a segregated mississippi, the novel depicts the relationships between an entitled upper-class and the women who care for them (and in most cases, raise their families).


SOUTH OF BROAD
by PAT CONROY

you know how i love pat conroy. if you don't, well now you do--he's just about my favorite. however, this book was not. while i liked it, conroy seemed to be trying too hard--reaching, a bit. but you should keep in mind, i wasn't that keen on prince of tides (which he seems to have garnered the most praise for). again, let me say, if you are new to this author, you must read beach music and the lords of discipline.


THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY
by MARY ANN SHAFFER and ANNIE BARROWS

i picked this one up on the recommendation of many of you lovely people. and i must say, good choice, ladies. i loved it. i mean, i really, really loved it. i read it quickly--unable to put it down and not since elizabeth bennett in pride and prejudice have i more wanted to be a character than that of the main voice here, juliet. it is the story of a writer and lover of literature as she learns about of the occupation of the channel islands in world war two.

EATING ANIMALS
by JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER

so this is what i'm reading now. i'll write more about it when i finish the book.
you know how i love pat conroy? well, the greatest threat to his status as my favorite author is jonathan safran foer (author of extremely loud and incredibly close {hands down, the best book i've ever read}. this book, eating animals, is about animal agriculture--its effects on the environment and our health, as well as what the animals experience. as someone who's had a tenuous relationship with food for a while now, i figured it was about time to start learning about food in the larger--societal sense--moving the idea from "me" to "us"--because believe it or not the choices we make about what we put in our bodies affect everyone.

19 comments:

communikate. said...

loved potato pie society. loved!

Sara said...

Good crap, I miss reading for pleasure. I'm going to live vicariously through you for a few more months, so keep going!

Michely Medeiros. said...

i'm dying to read the potatoe pie society....i've heard sooo much about it

Sarah C said...

i'm currently reading eating animals as well. i absolutely love johnathan safran foer, and though i feel like food is a very 'it' topic right now, i am LOVING his take on things.

thanks for giving me a few more good reads to add to my list!

Jessica said...

thanks for sharing, i love to see what others are reading. you covered a few already on my to-read list! I'm glad you like Eating Animals so far - I'm a JSF junkie, and lately I've been enjoying Food Culture books. Both Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and In Defense of Food will probably make my Best Reads of 2009 List!

AbbieBabble said...

I just saw Jonathan Safron Foer speak, and though I haven't read his book, I thought that at least in his talk, he did a really good job of presenting the facts and creating a dialogue without alienating anyone or (and this is sometimes hard) getting really boring.

I'm curious to hear what your opinions are as you've read more of the book. Maybe I'll even start reading it myself!

Fairfield said...

i'm gonna say it... i can't believe you didn't like "a heartbreaking work of staggering genius"!!!!!! okay, i'm done now.

but i'll have to check out "eating animals". speaking of that- may i borrow it when you're done?

i will give you something in return :)

Yvonne Anderson said...

I haven't read one of these books. I have a lot to read but will look out for a few of these.

Thanks

Morgan said...

I love love LOVE learning about new books! Great reviews!

Melissa said...

I'm reading "The Help" now and am really loving it. I also had to read "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" for my English 1 class my first year of college. It was 5 years ago yet I still remember finding the book kind of disturbing. I don't really remember why, but that's the impression I've been left with. I did love Dave Eggers' writing in "Away We Go" though!

CrowNology said...

Thanks for sharing this...
I am always looking for new books. I have not read any of these though I have the Eggers novel. I read about 2 hefty novels a week lately. A sure sign of my anti-social leanings ;).
Have you read "Year of Wonders" by Geraldine Brooks or "The Tiger Claw" by Shauna Singh Baldwin? They are a couple of my favourites out of dozens...
a

CrowNology said...

oh...
Have you seen the Goodreads site?
www.goodreads.com
:)

courtney said...

i know i don't actually know you... but the person i imagine you to be, through your writing, reminds me of elizabeth bennett. it's funny you mentioned her character because i've thought this for a while!

Courtney said...

I finally started the Time Travelers Wife last night, so excited, so far it's been a great read! And I think the next book I'm going to tackle will be Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

Not only because you've recommended it, but because earlier this year while I was perusing the library I happened to pull it out of a stack simply for it's wonderful cover design, not knowing that there was amazingness waiting inside. So I carried it around the library and then finally put it back. Then later I saw your review. I guess I should've checked it out then!

Taylor Norris said...

Just wanted to tell you that I love your blog. I put a hold on that Shaffer/Barrows book at my library. I was really craving a good read, thank you!

Taylor Norris said...

Oh, also, while I think I enjoyed "A Heartbreaking Work..." more than you probably did, I can totally understand your gripes.

marisa said...

i was not a fan of "south of broad" either and i too love Pat Conroy.
i have "extremely loud and incredibly close" on my bed stand... it is next and am so excited for it after hearing your praise.

Hermione said...

Thanks for reading tips, I am actually looking for something unexpected to read right now. Great!

StuartVail said...

I'm also a big Conroy fan. Believe it or not, I found a much-weathered hard copy of Beach Music on the beach in Santa Barbara, CA. How could I NOT read it? And, it was very good. I may have to return it to the beach, to let someone else find it.