Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Summer Reading

It was a good summer for reading!

Unbroken. Laura Hillenbrand managed to best Seabiscuit. When is the movie forthcoming? I was a bit put off by all the details in the first 50 pages and almost gave it up. But I kept reading because everyone raved about this book and once I got further into the story, I realized why the author devoted so many pages to Olympic and World War II statistics. Wow. She is a master researcher. The true story of Louis Zamperini, a juvenile delinquent cum Olympic runner cum POW cum Army hero, is fascinating and unlikely. I kept asking myself, "Why did he choose to live during these circumstances instead of doing the easier thing and dying?" If you can get through 600 pages, it's a great read.

The Imperfectionists. I kept looking for a plot in Tom Rachman's debut novel about an English language newspaper in Rome. It didn't exist. But the writing is good and the characters were quirky enough to keep my attention. I read it in Villa Bartolomea, which added to the experience.

Dreams of Joy. This is Lisa See's follow on to Shanghai Girls, which I loved. I did not love the first part of this book but, like Unbroken, 50 pages in I was hooked to the point of putting off non essential things to get through it. It's about a mother and a daughter, Communist China during the late 1950s and dreams. It's an exceptional read provided you read and enjoyed Shanghai Girls.

Little Bee. Chris Cleave's story is of a Nigerian woman who flees the horrors of her own country and becomes a refugee in England. It's dramatic, sad and gory in places. And it made me think long after I finished it. It makes you consider the world and your place in it. Highly recommended.

The House in France. Gully Wells name drops too much in her memoir and, not being a part of London's liberated circle of intellectuals in the 1960s, I was unimpressed. However, her writing is solid and pithy. (I love the word pithy. I want my own writing to be pithy.) It's a good look into her life in the south of France, London and New York in the 1960s and 70s, complete with all the details of adultery, philosophical discussions, discos, drugs and food. An interesting but not especially deep read. My recommendation: skim the British politics and focus on the characters, which are straight out of central casting.

Get Out of my Life. But first can you drive me and Cheryl to the mall? A parenting book recommended by a friend whose oldest is in college and whose youngest just started kindergarten. Two takeaways here: they will eventually outgrow this selfish, unreasonable stage and don't bother getting into extended debates with them. Eldest Daughter was concerned when she saw this on my nightstand. She does not like when I study up on parenting.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Thank you - Mark surprised me with a Kindle last week (Kayla was tired of me "borrowing" hers) and I am deep into books - for the first time in a while. Loved your suggestions. Will go read more reviews and download!