Thursday, November 14, 2013

Summer Reading 2013


After posting that last post about a book I didn't like, I thought I'd tell you about a few I did enjoy.

Are you so proud of me for taking a picture of the books I read? I took it with my phone before I gave away the ones I didn't want anymore.

We'll start at the top:
1. The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen. This book had the unfortunate placement of being read right after Flight Behavior (not pictured), which was fantastic and one of the best books I read this year. The Peach Keeper is probably an average book but no one can really compare to Kingsolver's writing so I found this book super lame. Like, excessively lame. I read maybe 3 chapters and skimmed the rest. Lame.

3. Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo. I started this in maybe March and made a concerted effort to finish it this past summer. It's really amazing and worth the focused effort to read it. The story is amazingly crafted and expertly written.

3. Julie & Julia by Julie Powell. I got this one and The Peach Keeper from the bargain table at Barnes and Noble. I really enjoyed this book; it wasn't just a rehash of blog posts but the story behind the blog. It was a fun read although peppered with profanity. I hadn't read any of the blog, just knew the story from hearing about it when the movie came out.

4. The House of Tides by Hannah Richell. My sister-in-law had me grab this at BJs towards the end of the summer. I wanted it to be more interesting & better written that it was. I still haven't finished it.

5. Red Azalea by Anchee Min. I got this either free or from the dollar bin at the grocery store. It was very good. The writing is very straightforward without self-pity, although the story is a tough one. It never ceases to amaze me what Mao did to China and how the Chinese people survived.

6. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. This book caught be by surprise with how good it was. It's a World War II story from a perspective I had never considered - the generation of German children who lived through the war and questioned how their parents could have done what they did. I knew the "twist" but still found this book very moving.

7. On Beauty by Zadie Smith. I haven't read any Zadie Smith. A friend whose book I opinion I very much resepect recommended this. I enjoyed it & thought the writing was good. I didn't get the "satire" aspect - maybe I'm not intellectual enough? - as it was described on the cover.

8. Holes by Louis Sachar. I read this thinking it might be good for Sam but I don't think he's quite ready for it. Fun read and nicely paced.

9. The Archivist by Martha Cooley . Fantastic read. Really amazing in its writing, story, and pacing.

10.  Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler. I do think this author knew her Jane Austen and put a lot of it into this book, but the writing was lame and I didn't really like the story or the main character. I decided not to waste any more time on a crummy book after The Peach Keeper.

Not Pictured:

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. As I mentioned above, really, really good. The writing, the understanding of human thought, the ability to cut to the essence with a few well-crafted phrases . . . it doesn't get much better that this.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. My bookclub read Run and it was so good. Where have you been all my life and why did I think Bel Canto was her only book? good. State of Wonder was mesmerizing. Astonishingly good. Stop what you are doing and read it.

Right after I read State of Wonder I read A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin. I read it in early September but technically that's still summer, right? It's about Sherlock Holmes as an old man - 93 or so. Again with the staggeringly good book. Even now, writing about it, I am so thankful I read two fantastic books in a row (that's rare). "Tonight, my friend, I give you the exception of a lifetime." just, wow. Well-crafted story.

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