State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett [fiction] * *
This novel compelled me to turn the pages, but mostly because I was hoping I'd like it more if I just kept reading. After loving Bel Canto a few years ago, I was disappointed by Patchett's latest. The characters and plot felt forced. Ask me in person if you want to hear more.
Just Kids, by Patti Smith [non-fiction] * * * *
Autobiography (Smith) and biography (Mapplethorpe) wrapped up together. Peculiar and wonderful! Full of literary references that were wasted on me, but still full of texture and feeling. I could almost taste this book.
Crawling: A Father's First Year, by Elisha Cooper [non-fiction] * * *
This felt pretty familiar, given our current situation. I could definitely relate.
Daddy's Little Goalie: A Father, His Daughters, and Sports, by Robert Strauss [non-fiction] *
Great idea, and I was excited to share this with Evan and then read it myself, but yikes! Poorly written! I couldn't get through the first two chapters.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks [non-fiction] * * * * *
Hard to put this one down at night! This story says so much about ethics and the breakdown of social moral obligations in the U.S. without being preachy. It is also a touching personal story about the author's relationshiop with Henrietta Lacks's daughter and other descendants. Well before finishing the book, I felt like they were my own family.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson [fiction] * * *
I bought this one at least two years ago, but put off reading it for some reason. Wary of its popularity? My skepticism was unfounded, of course. Enjoyed it thoroughly.
The Passion, by Jeannette Windterson [fiction] * *
Last time I read this book, maybe nine years ago, I didn't finish it. This time I was determined. But I still found the writing overwrought. Like teenage poetry. The story's good, though.
The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende [fiction] * * * *
Another great example of the magical realism that keeps me coming back to Latin American literature. Allende is a master story teller, and the pages practically turned themselves for me.
The Worst Hard Time, by Timothy Egan [non-fiction] * * * * *
Here's another book that will be reqired reading for the high school American history class that I'll teach in my next life. The narrative is evocative and personal; heart-breaking. So hard to read, but impossible to put down.
Bringing up Bebe, by Pamela Druckerman [non-fiction] * * * *
Loved it. Druckerman is a sharp writer, and she convinced me that the French are doing it right. The challenge now is to apply her observations to our own family within the American parenting cultural landscape.
Outliers, by Malcom Gladwell [non-fiction] * *
This was a fun, interesting read--I suppose that's whiy it is/was a National Bestseller. And it was well written, sentence by sentence and paragraph by paragraph. But on a larger scale it was all over the map, and we debated to no conclusion at book club what the ultimate point was. Who was the editor, anyway?
Double Time, by Jane Roper [non-fiction] *
I liked the accounts of her twins' behaviors. Unfortunately those are few and far between, and the rest of the book is about the author. Poorly written, tedious turn off. Couldn't force myself to read the last thirty pages or so.
It Looks Like A President Only Smaller, by Joel Achenbach [non-fiction] * * * * *
Hilarious and smart. Just in time for the last few weeks of the 2012 election season.
Shameless plug ::
my favorite local book stores
Harvard book store (cambridge, ma)
the globe corner bookstores (cambridge, ma)
we were bummed to discover this place was having a liquidation sale last year.
jamaicaway books (jp, ma)
sadly, this one also closed.
politics & prose (washington, dc)
powell's (portland, or)
the regulator bookshop (durham, nc)