Thursday, September 27, 2007

Recommendations by Ann

One thing is for sure, and that is that Ann Patchett quickly became one of my favorite authors. I've even gone as far as to read books by her best friend, the late Lucy Grealy.

And just today my friend showed me a book that Ann wrote that we must have missed : Taft. She gets it first since she purchased it, but I get it next.

So needless to say that I would take any recommendation by this author as gospel. I found this in the Borders newsletter that I receive. Not so sure about the Courtney Love one, but the rest are now officially on my list!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Secrets of a Fire King

Let me start out by saying that Kim Edwards has the potential to be one of my favorite authors. The Memory Keeper's Daughter is in my top ten, and if I assigned actual numbers to all those books, it would be very high on that list. That being said, I hate short stories. Hate may be a strong word, but I guess what I am feeling is that I can't get invested in short stories. I wish that each one of these stories would evolve into a novel of their own. Each one is so unusual, set in exotic locations and moments in time, but again, at around 20 pages per story, it's not enough for me to really care. I found myself skimming most of the stories toward the end waiting for one to spark a bigger interest. But I think I am just ready to move on to a full-length novel.

Kim Edwards is truly a poetic writer though, so if I had to pick a favorite from this collection, it would Spring, Mountain, Sea. The story is about a man who brings home a war bride and the struggles that she has to endure in America, such as not speaking the language, the climate, and deep loneliness. I connected the most with this story and really wish it was longer. In the meantime, I will eagerly await another novel by Kim.

Monday, September 24, 2007


I grabbed this book on CD from the library in preparation for a road trip. It is Augusten Burroughs's first novel, written in seven days, and it's hysterical! On his website he says, "It's absolutely the most shallow, petty, mean-spirited little book you'll read." I think he's right.

The book centers around a group of people employed by a fictional home shopping network. They all have serious issues. But the best part is that I laughed at their misfortunes! My favorite story was about a woman, who wasn't even a central character, who began drinking when her conjoined twins wouldn't get along. The story is told in such a dry way that you would miss out on how funny it really is if you weren't paying attention. Plus, with an audio book, the narrator makes all the difference. Robin Miles did a great job of holding my interest and making me laugh.

This book is nothing like his other books, but it's a fun read. Also, his brother, John Robison, wrote a book that releases September 25. Look Me in the Eye is an account of his struggle with Asperger's syndrome. I'm adding it to my list.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

life on the refrigerator door

I picked this one up and read it in the time it took to have my oil changed. 220 pages of notes on the fridge between a mother and her daughter. I thought it was going to be all fluff, until suddenly it snuck up on me.

Alice Kuipers writes a cutesy, simple first novel that turns out to be quite poignant in the end. Give it a only need 20 minutes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Road

One word: bleak. Have you ever read a book that gave you a stomach ache while you were reading it? The Road by Cormac McCarthy was probably the most difficult subject matter I have ever read. That being said, a friend of mine also described it "like reading one long poem." In fact, The Road was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

In a post-apocalyptic world, a man and his son struggle for survival and hope to find a better life on an undefined coast. It is freezing cold and they constantly scrounge for their next meal. I found myself wondering why they wouldn't just kill themselves? The author leaves the reader with absolutely no hope that better things are to come. But the love between them (their names are never mentioned) will make you weep. By the end of the book I was actually bawling out loud. I can't think of another book that affected me this way, although I can't put it in my top ten. It was just too emotionally draining.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Bad Dog, Marley!

On top of what I normally read, I also get to read lots of children's books. Lucky for me, I have a two-year old niece who has adopted her Auntie Amy's passion for reading. And this week, my friend who works at a bookstore, was able to get me an autographed copy of Bad Dog, Marley! by John Grogan. It's even personalized with Emily's name!

I have heard that this is Grogan's children's version of Marley & Me, and that the stories in the book are all true based on the author's own yellow Lab. Now I am eager to make the comparison. Either way, the story is sweet and funny and the illustrations are adorable. Richard Cowdry was able to capture the expressions from a puppy to an adult dog with endearing accuracy.

This book will be a great gift for any child, especially Emily.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Where to begin?

It's not like today is the first day I begin reading. With all the great books I've read in the past, it seems sad to let them go unmentioned. There are items on my top ten list that will change, I'm sure; it was very hard to commit to that list. And with this year 75% over, I'm not even sure I can remember all that I have read in 2007.

There are also authors that I follow and always grab their newest release. Ann Patchett, Maeve Binchy and Augusten Burroughs are ones I keep up with. And why won't Wally Lamb write another novel?? I think about his two books, She's Come Undone and I Know This Much is True, all the time. I beg him to write more.

It should already be evident that I am a fiction reader. Books take me out of the noise and stress of daily life and into a place that relaxes me. I have to put a book in my hands every night before I shut the light off, whether it's a single page that I read or several chapters.