Sunday, February 23, 2014

Recovery Reading List

Hey, if you follow me on Twitter you may know (and if you don’t-- why the hell not?  Oh, you have a life, well, ok…) that I’ve been recovering from leg and foot surgery.  Hey, I wish it were a face lift, or something glamorous, or something that involved vacuuming out my middle section, but no, just trying to be able to walk. . .that pesky “one foot in front of the other” thing.
So I thought I’d give you my latest summary of books I’ve read.  This is not to be confused with a piece of literary criticism, more like the ravings of an overly isolated person who doesn’t have the mojo to reach for the remote.

Bridget Jones – Mad about The Boy by Helen Fielding
This was actually light and fun, yet not too light and fun.  Hey, Ms. Fielding makes me laugh out loud, what can I tell you?  I’m a sucker for that stuff about the calorie counts and the number of drinks.  What’s not to love about a tally of sex thoughts for the day.  Not that I identify.  You gotta love the English spelling of the word “Diarrhoea” used in conjunction with the word “erupted.”  Sorry, I’m a bit primal these days myself.
I give it an 8 out of 10 on the enjoyment and held-my-attention scale.  Just fun.  Beach or plane read.

The Circle by Dave Eggers. 
A 10.  I give this a 10.  Can I do an 11?
Hey, if you do follow me on Twitter or FB or use any kind of device, this book is riveting and harrowing at the same time.  It is the story of being “wired” going just a step too far. 
I’ve never read Dave Eggers before and now I think he is a mad genius.  And I’m slightly in love with him.  This book is big, bold, brave and I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN.  The protagonist is this 20-something, Google-type chick who loses herself in the world of “connectedness.”
It’s big, meaty and important.  It is Contemporary Literary Fiction. . .and it is good anyway!  Hah!  Read it, then tweet me!  Or nod to me, or something.
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
Oh Dear God: This book received the Mann Booker Prize for Literary Fiction. This always meant to me, “Ah, an important book for our times.”  Let me tell you, that is NOT a good recommendation today.  This book has been written up EVERYWHERE and raved about.
Well, I’m raving, but it ain’t good. 
850 pages.  And by the time I was finished and the “mystery” had been solved?  I no longer gave a shit about who did it and why.
Really, has no one heard of an editor?  (I do realize perhaps I need one here!)
The gold rush in New Zealand, or wherever the hell it takes place doesn’t interest me anyway, but 850 pages on it?  There isn’t enough character development to make me want to do this again. 
But please, read the book and let me know your opinion.  Or save yourself a week of your life and watch “Justified” and “House of Cards.“  But comment anyway, cuz I’m needy like that.
I give it a 5.  Cuz I made the effort.  And it was herculean.
The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman
I do love an Elinor Lipman novel.  This was a lovely tale of two sisters, one married to a Bernie Madoff-type guy, the other a young widow, making it work in NY.  Add the lovely gay roommate and it is just a lovely, warm, engaging read.
I give it an 8.  You will enjoy or if not? Come over and step on my foot.  My bad foot.


The Virgins by Pamela Erens

This is a typical, angst-filled, coming-of-age in a boarding school tale of young love.  Hey, what’s not to love about THAT description???
Totally readable, if you like that kind of thing, which I do.  Not powerful, riveting or life changing-- just a read.
Can I tell you a secret?  When I looked at the cover of this book on my iPad, I couldn’t immediately remember the story, which could be a statement about me or the novel.  Take your pick.
I give it a 6.5.  (And a 2.7 for memorability.)
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Look, it’s the Eat, Love, Pray author, writing a long novel about botany.  And feminism. And a woman coming of age. . . and a woman who really can’t come of age. Because it’s set in the 1800s.   It is sad, long, readable, empowering.  Good to read in companion with Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.  Cuz all you want to do is scream at this woman to leave the flipping moss alone and LIVE.  “LEAN IN, SISTER!”
But oddly enough despite the rather odd and unnatural obsession with moss? Quite readable.  So I give it an 8.
Ending on a high note (To be read in operatic singing style)
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt 
This is the book of the year.  The. Book. Of. The. Year.
Delicious, amazing, riveting, accessible – everything a truly great book should be.  You will look at the world (acts of terrorism, art, stolen art, relationships) differently.  And you should.  And you will love the ride, cuz this is some amazing writing.  And if you haven’t read her other book, Secret History, then I am giving you a double present-- cuz I’m awesome like that.
This is the incredible story of a boy’s journey and love and relationships and the love for a Mama.  It is so much more mind-bending than a typical “coming-of-age” story; it is a story for our times.  I love this protagonist.  You won’t forget this one, no matter what kind of memory issue you have on a daily basis.  Now, why am I standing in this room again?
I give it a flipping 12! Hah-- take that scale of 1 to 10.  Ms. Tartt – I love you.



1 comment:

  1. Hope you're doing better. Joe got a serious staph infection in his leg in early December, spent the holidays in the hospital. Know what you're going through. We'll catch up one of these days! Joe and David


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