Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A challenge I can manage

I see all these interesting reading challenges out there, but usually they're much too structured for me. I need to be able to choose a book based on whatever sounds good at the moment. But since The Pub, hosted by 1morechapter, has minimal rules and is focused only on choosing books published in 2008, I think I can manage it. Check it out here and join in. I'll post titles once I check out some "coming soon" lists for 2008. I especially love the rule that I can change my books!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Keeping all the lights on

A word of advice: Don't finish this book when you're home alone at night. Justin Evans' A Good and Happy Child could safely be called a psychological thriller, though with a hefty dose of the supernatural thrown in. I can't decide which side of the story was scarier; both were tremendously unnerving. The novel is a page-turner in the best sense -- prose that draws the reader in quickly and holds that momentum until the very end. On his website, Evans says it took him six years to write the book; the writing definitely shows a meticulous attention to even the smallest details (a nice change from the sea of haphazardly edited books out there lately). That intensity adds up to an impressive and satisfyingly unsettling book.

And I'm still not willing to turn off the lights quite yet.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I love you, man!

Yes, I'm going to gush about another Neil Gaiman book. Anansi Boys brings together the light entertaining qualities of Neverwhere and Stardust with the depth of American Gods. It is, in turn, hilarious, intellectual, thought-provoking, and heart-warming, while incorporating elements of mystery and romance. At times I knew where the plot was going; at others, I thought I knew what was coming, only to find I was totally wrong. I loved the character of Mr. Nancy -- I wished his role was bigger, though that would quite have changed the story.

I think Coraline is the only novel I have left before braving The Sandman books. (They're pictures, y'all! That's, like, weird and stuff.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

In brief

I enjoyed The Namesake, yet I've been putting off posting this because I have so little to say about the book. Jhumpa Lahiri's writing style is solid: good storytelling, believable characters. I loved reading the details of Bengali traditions and other aspects of their culture that the Gangulis were able to incorporate into their American life. So much of the story felt unique to the immigrant experience in the U.S., yet the characters' problems were also wholly universal at their core. It's a good read. That's all I've got.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wait, what did I miss?

It won't give anything away to say that at the end of the book, one of the characters mentioned that the time she had spent with her siblings had an unfinished quality to it. That's pretty much how I felt about the whole of Letter from Point Clear, and apparently that fit Dennis McFarland's intentions. I enjoyed reading the book, but I kept waiting for something to happen -- for a real conflict to arise. There certainly were problems, some of which found resolution, but it felt like the book never found its reason for existing. Was the author commenting on religion? family dynamics? homosexuality? Or just a chance for some lovely writing and interesting characters to get together, without anything much actually occurring?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Acceptance is an important step

I have no problem with chick lit and other various forms of brain candy. But a book should just accept that it is fluff and not try to pretend that it's highbrow. Ann Packer's Songs Without Words thinks it's a bigger, more literary book than it actually is. The story isn't bad, but the characters are overdone; ironic, since the characters periodically discuss how one ought not categorize people as "the smart one" or "the creative one." And yet the book's people so neatly fit into those generalizations: Troubled Teen, Soccer Mom, Artsy Friend with Issues. Songs Without Words: It's what happens when good fluff goes bad.

And by the way, it's not symbolism if you have to spell it out. It's just annoying.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lost in America

OK, I admit it. I've apparently developed a little crush on Neil Gaiman. But could his stuff be any more fabulous? After reading American Gods, I'm quite convinced that when he finished writing it, he had to have just sat back and thought, "Yes, I am that good." There's so much going on in this book, and it's quite different from his other books I've read so far -- it's darker, with considerably more depth. I can't imagine the research and energy that must have gone into this novel. I rarely take books to work, because I never have time to read there, but I kept sneaking chances to read more of American Gods. When I was finished, I was left thoroughly satisfied and yet wanting more. Go read it, if you haven't. Don't bother to find out what it's about first; just jump in. You'll find yourself immediately immersed.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Balancing the right

The religious right, that is. Tom Perrotta's The Abstinence Teacher is a very interesting look at what happens when liberals clash with Christian conservatives, and also what happens when being "born again" doesn't quite stick. The character of Tim is an intriguing mix of pothead-meets-evangelist, and you can imagine how well that's going for him. I'm not sure whether Tim is meant to show that not all Christian conservatives are extremists or just that when normal people mix with extremists, it doesn't work so well. Ruth, on the other hand, is a standard liberal single mom, nothing so novel there. Her career is more interesting -- she was forced to switch her teaching from sex ed to an abstinence-only curriculum (the most useless coursework ever invented, but that's another rant).

I find I can read Perrotta's books very quickly, though they are far from mindless. There were so many characters in this one that I'm not totally sure they were all completely fleshed out. Ruth's daughters' actions, for example, seemed rather random -- the motivation was never totally clear. Nonetheless, the story is compelling while the writing remains intelligent.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Poor little neglected blog. Life goes crazy and the blog goes dormant. I finally, finally finished a book, though whether I have anything intelligent to say about it remains to be seen.

I love Ann Patchett. I've read all her books, so I was very excited to see that Run was being published this fall. And... I liked it. I'm not sure I loved it, though the presence of Patchett's writing style does lead me to believe I ought to have loved it. The whole story takes place over 24 hours, which I might not have noticed if I hadn't read it on the jacket flap. In truth, I probably noticed very little about the book and should just give up talking and reread it. Thanks to the hectic insanity of the past few weeks, I didn't absorb nearly enough of it.

The cover art was lovely, as is the British version (which seems to have considerably more to do with the plot than the U.S. cover).

These little furry folks, who we found in our backyard, are among the many things interfering with my reading time lately. While they certainly are the cutest of my distractions, they are also considerably higher maintenance than everything else that has been getting in the way. If you know anyone looking for a kitten, send them my way!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

My first tag!

This is indeed a departure from the read-a-book, write-about-a-book plan for this blog, but since I've never been tagged before, I'll play.

Four Jobs I Have Had in My Life
1. Bagel shop worker (all two weeks of it)
2. Church receptionist (another super-short stint, filling in for a friend)
3. Clothing salesgirl
4. Woodshop intern

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over
1. Notting Hill
2. Sense and Sensibility
3. The Princess Bride
4. Serendipity

Four TV Shows I Like to Watch
1. House
2. Gilmore Girls
3. Grey's Anatomy
4. Good Eats

Four Places I Have Vacationed
1. Reno
2. Aruba
3. Germany
4. North Dakota

Four of My Favorite Dishes
This is too hard, so I'm doing ingredients. It's my meme; I'll cheat if I want to!
1. Basil
2. Tomatoes
3. Bread
4. Chocolate

Four Websites I Visit Daily
1. Yahoo Mail
2. Gmail
4. Stuff on My Cat

Four Places I Would Rather Be
1. On a beach
2. In our new house (the one we haven't bought yet)
3. Greece
4. At the lake

Four Bloggers I Am Tagging
1. Elly Says Opa!
2. Joelen's Culinary Adventures
3. Suzy’s Not a Homemaker
4. Then There Was One

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Real imagination

I love the way Neil Gaiman combines reality and fantasy in Neverwhere (which is, by the way, such a lovely title) -- the combination of human truths and creative adventures is, well, fantastic. The unraveling of the plot came a little early, I thought, but there were still enough trials for the characters that it didn't feel anticlimactic. I loved the ending: satisfying without being completely predictable.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


I tried to love A Thousand Splendid Suns. Everyone else out there seems to adore Khaled Hosseini's work; I'm in the quiet minority of those distracted by the fact that the writing is just not that spectacular. The second half of the book is much better than the first; throughout the first two sections, I kept complaining that the setting seemed secondary. So many people rave that they learned so much about Afghanistan, yet in the first half of the book, the setting is unimportant. With a few changes in details, these women's stories, sadly, could be happening in so many places. By the third and fourth parts, though, Afghanistan and its myriad problems are central to the novel, and the novel itself was much more appealing to me. I love this quote from the New York Times review of the book: "Gradually, however, Mr. Hosseini’s instinctive storytelling skills take over, mowing down the reader’s objections through sheer momentum and will." Storytelling is definitely the strength here, and it is a good story; literature it is not.

I chose What the Dead Know because I wanted an simple, plot-driven mystery as a sort of palate-cleanser. Laura Lippman's book is definitely plot driven but hardly simple. The character list itself is immense, and while most characters are clearly drawn, few are likable and their sheer numbers are challenging (not to mention the character with more than one identity and name). I enjoyed watching the mystery unravel, but I thought the climax was, in fact, anticlimactic.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Part two

I liked Libba Bray's Rebel Angels even better than the first book in the trilogy, which makes me really excited for number three to be released (this winter, I believe?). Gemma's character becomes more interesting as she grows older, and her friends' stories were developed much more fully in this one also. I adored the character of Simon Middleton -- totally realistic for the setting and for 2007, with a few minor changes. I kept thinking, I know that guy! I had a crush on that guy in high school!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Two mysteries in a row, though of very different sorts. The Woods, by Harlan Coben, is more your Law-and-Order-style novel. Meant to be realistic, a bit of courtroom drama, a bit of romance, a fast-paced story, a large helping of lousy writing. I almost quit the book a few pages in when the author wouldn't settle on a verb tense, but I kept going and I did enjoy the story. There were a few moments I had to read aloud to the husband and rant over, but not too many.

Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty is the first in what I believe is to be a trilogy. Gemma finds herself at a seemingly proper English boarding school, with all the snobby, pampered rich girls ready and waiting. However, she quickly discovers not only her own magical powers but also a tremendous puzzle in the shadows (which isn't solved by the end of the book, though I briefly thought it was when I read too quickly). The portrayal of teenage girls is wonderfully realistic, and the fantasy aspect fits in quite nicely. It's a good fix for my post-Potter world.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Eggy situations

The Big Over Easy wasn't quite as good as The Fourth Bear, but that's still not a negative. I really, really like Jasper Fforde: such creative plots, fully developed characters, intricate details intertwined with puns and jokes. I did think this one moved more slowly than any of his other books and was perhaps a bit more complicated than necessary. It took me longer than usual to read this, and it was sometimes challenging to remember details from one chapter to the next. Nonetheless, it's a good read.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Falling stars amidst dwindling reading speed

I've never read anything by Neil Gaiman before, but the movie of Stardust looked so nifty that it seemed like a good time to try. Such a sweet little fairy tale -- charming, interesting characters and a fascinating world for them to live in. I've yet to see the movie, but the book definitely makes me want to read more from Gaiman.

My posts are likely to be fewer and farther between for a while as I readjust to working. The start of the school year is taking its toll on my brain and my time.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The incomparable Jane Austen

What can I say about Pride and Prejudice that hasn't been said already and better? It's the most charming, wittiest love story ever. I "read" it in high school, but I didn't really read it. I do wish I could have had the experience of reading it without knowing the story and without having so many film-version images of the characters. Nonetheless, it's worth a reread (or a few!).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fourth time's somewhat charmed

I really loved Megan McCafferty's Jessica Darling series when it began, but it slid downhill a bit after the first two. Fourth Comings felt a bit like a this-is-your-life take on the series -- cameo appearances from everyone we've met so far, but without any real starring roles from anyone other than Jessica. The character of Hope had a lot of trouble coming to life, perhaps because she's been so long relegated to email, letters, and memories, and there was way too little of Bridget. The plot itself was thin, but I was satisfied with how it played out. My biggest problem was that I haven't particularly liked Marcus since his silence in the desert thing, which makes it hard to root for their relationship. I did like seeing Jessica figure him out and learn more about him, while working to figure out how any relationship works (the answer: with complications).

Friday, August 17, 2007

Warm fuzzies

Austenland by Shannon Hale is the book equivalent of a romantic comedy: charming, funny, mildly predictable, but not so sweet that it makes your teeth hurt. I was surprised by how much I liked this book, especially after I saw that it called itself chick lit. Eek. Nonetheless, it was a satisfying bite of brain candy. And I have to admit that I really want to go to Pembrook Park, wear period clothes, and talk in Austen-dialect. Just without Mrs. Wattlesbrook, please.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More reading at the lake

We spent only a long weekend at the lake this time, so not quite as many books for me.

I had tried to read the first book in Jasper Fforde's Nursery Crime series and couldn't get into it; I think mostly I just wanted it to be a Thursday Next book. But now that Thursday has finally returned, I was able to really enjoy The Fourth Bear. Fforde tangles a twist on Goldilocks with cucumber intrigue and an intriguing nod to The Picture of Dorian Gray. (As with the Thursday Next books, The Fourth Bear makes me feel that my literary education is woefully incomplete.) I think Jasper Fforde has to be up there in the top five of unusually funny yet highly intelligent people.

The requisite Agatha Christie: Dead Man's Folly. I spent the first part of the book trying to remember if I had read this one before, then finally decided I hadn't and it just reminded me of Hallowe'en Party. A satisfying mystery -- I came closer than usual to figuring it out, though of course I'll never actually solve it before Poirot.

I think the movie of Chocolat must be very, very loosely based on Joanne Harris's novel, or perhaps I just don't remember the movie well enough. The book has much more psychologically complex characters than I remember from the movie. The chocolate, on the other hand, was deliciously depicted in both versions. (It was challenging to read this without snacking.) The descriptions of food and people are really what make this book so enjoyable; everything and everyone is so clearly rendered that the pictures in my head are staying with me longer than the story.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Don't let crazy happen to you

The Doctor's Wife, by Elizabeth Brundage, is a weird, weird book. It was certainly readable, though I skimmed quite a bit, but my goodness, these characters are crazy. They had good reasons for the crazy, but at times it seemed Brundage was working a bit too hard to give them good reasons. In the end, it really felt too much like a TV movie of the week, with a bit of politics thrown in for good measure.

Ordinary doesn't equal boring

Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life is just that: life, recorded in alphabetized short entries. I was drawn in by the cover and front matter, with their quirky notes and lists. Then I started reading, and despite the very descriptive title, I was surprised to find it wasn't a book -- it really is an encyclopedia. Surely this won't work, I thought, and then continued reading to find that it really and truly did work. Rosenthal chronicles her thoughts and observations from funny to insecure to poignant, and at many points I found myself thinking, Dear God, she's in my head!

The website for the book is fun but makes the book seem much more gimmicky than it is. And I wish I could remember the blog where I read about this book, so if you've written about it, please let me know.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Thursday returns, finally

Thursday Next, I forgot how much fun you were.
And of course, it's going to be another two years until the next one (grrr). First Among Sequels is solid TN material, with plenty of new tricks and twists along with all the fun things from the first four books. As usual, I feel I need to read everything ever written to make sure I'm getting all the jokes, but that's hardly a complaint.
Be sure to check out the author's website, Jasper Fforde's interview of himself about First Among Sequels is both hilarious and informative.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Rejoining the Tudor fiction bandwagon

I had read (in no particular order) a bunch of Philippa Gregory books a while back -- I liked the first few, disliked the last few. But the royals in this time period are pretty fascinating, and I'm obviously not the only one who thinks so. Alison Weir's Innocent Traitor, the story of Lady Jane Grey's life, is similar to Gregory's style but feels much more historically accurate. With plenty of unsavory characters to contrast the sympathetic Jane, Weir captures the courtly intrigue in the factual details of the story.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Vacation reading

Up first, of course: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was lovely to be away from the Internet and able to just enjoy the book. Perfectly satisfying and everything that is good about the series. The photo above was taken shortly after we bought the book Saturday morning (in a little independent bookstore with no line at all, where there were people buying things other than Harry Potter!). J was having fun taking pictures and exploring the town -- I was pleased to find a place to sit and read the first chapter.

For the rest of the week:
Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
The Secret of Chimneys, Agatha Christie
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Julia Alvarez
Elephants Can Remember, Agatha Christie

I enjoyed Sense and Sensibility. I hadn't read any Austen since college, and it's much more relaxing when you won't be expected to analyze it. I'll have to (re)read Pride and Prejudice -- that's one I read in high school, but I don't remember much more than the very basics.

No lake vacation is complete without a few mysteries. Chimneys is a much better Christie than Elephants, but both were fun.

Garcia Girls was not my favorite. It had such a mix of styles, and while I understand that's meant to characterize the sisters, it often didn't seem to work particularly well for my brain. I loved the characters and their stories, but I got impatient with some parts, especially toward the end.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Poor little scapegoat book

I almost want to skip writing about this one, but that feels like cheating somehow. Election, by Tom Perrotta, made me cranky. I liked the book (and it made me think the movie was very well casted) but it was just so depressing: generally miserable people living generally miserable lives. I really don't think it's the book's fault; I'm just in a mood.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Two afternoons and an evening

Three compulsively readable, short little books this weekend. First was Calvin Trillin's About Alice. Alice is Trillin's late wife, and while the book is about her death and her absence, It is more a celebration of who she was and how she lived. It's a life story crossed with a love letter. Beautifully simple writing with the perfect balance of sadness and sweetness.

Trillin's short novel, Tepper Isn't Going Out, takes that simple charm to a much lighter subject: parking in New York. Tepper's occasional afternoons and evenings parked legally (always legally!) and reading the newspaper in his car in much-coveted locations make him a minor celebrity. Chuckle-out-loud funny at points, the books puts an endearingly uncomplicated character in a surprising yet realistic situation.

Yesterday afternoon I devoured I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (who also wrote The Book Thief, which I adored). I didn't really expect to like it when I read the first few pages, but I kept going and I liked it better and better. Then it ended, and I sat for a few minutes thinking, woah. There is much more to the book and the story than it seems -- it would be a good one to reread more slowly.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Heavy light reading

It's not exactly chick-lit, but Katharine Noel's Halfway House is definitely an old-style Oprah book. Engrossing, family-focused, real-world problems, a bit depressing, not a whole lot to say about it. It's the story of a family dealing with the daughter's manic depression in pre-cell-phone New Hampshire (mobile phones would have been very useful to this family). Oddly, I really liked the character of the father but found the sections of the book devoted to him to be very dull. Overall, it's a satisfying, simple summer read.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Is it July 21 yet?

Rereading books five and six in anticipation -- I need to refresh my memory and watch for more clues before the seventh book finally arrives. If you're the one person in the world who hasn't yet read (or rejected the idea of reading) this series, please do so. Now.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Not even a sparrow...

It has been difficult to figure out what to say about The Sparrow because it made me question so many things. The story of Mary Doria Russell's novel is not so complicated: Life is detected on a relatively nearby planet, and a group is sent to investigate. The book intertwines the story of the mission with the story of the inquiry into how and why there was only one survivor. I don't usually choose science fiction, but the writing and the plot sucked me in very quickly.

The book is really about faith, and that's where the questioning comes in. Are our lives guided by God, good and bad? Is there a reason for the horrible things that happen, or is God simply not part of the world and its workings? Does God even exist? The book doesn't have answers, which is both appropriate and unsatisfying.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Fantasy, royalty, hilarity

Freddy and Fredericka drew me in from page one because it's just plain hilarious, but with fathoms of depth beneath all the quirks. Mark Helprin's wordplay made me laugh out loud enough times to make the husband think I was crazy. It's one of the few books that leads me to want to read everything else this author has ever written, immediately and feverishly. More than being about a prince and princess, Freddy and Fredericka is about love and dignity, truth and beauty, and all that is right with the world amidst everything that is wrong.

Helprin's website, by the way, is also quite endearing. If you've read F and F, don't miss his correspondence with a California dental hygienist regarding the moments of dentistry in the book.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Mmm, food.

I want to hang out with Julie Powell. I'd enjoy sitting and watching Buffy with her sure-to-be witty commentary, while waiting for some luscious dessert to bake. I could pass on the entrees, though. French main dishes apparently aren't my thing.

Julie and Julia is Powell's chronicle of cooking her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It's very funny, very light-hearted, and very likable. Some of the oh-no-I'm-30 moments resonated a little too much with me, but Powell never sits and feels sorry for herself (she cooks, of course). Really, even her self-deprecating humor isn't wallowing; Powell has too firm a grasp on reality for that.

It's rare for me to have a Holden moment and want to call and author up and talk, but Julie and Julia makes me want to do just that. Powell comes across as a regular human who happened to have an idea and happened to have the skill and humor to write about it. Is it stalkerish to say I wish her all the best?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I'm not so clever with post titles, but this one fits both the book and the fact that I forgot to write about it (I read this before The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop). But indeed, Once in a Promised Land has characters feeling misplaced, though not so much forgotten. The book tells the story of Selwa and Jassim, a married couple from Jordan who have been living in Arizona for quite some time when the World Trade Center attacks happen. Laila Halaby depicts the turmoil in their lives from the new (unfounded) suspicions surrounding them as well as their own personal struggles. It feels like their problems would have happened anyway, but the attacks simply force things to happen more quickly. Halaby uses an old folktale as a frame, directing our attention to the monsters we must fight and the cleverness required to defeat them.

This isn't so much a story about America or September 11 or the Middle East as it is a story of people and how life is so easily altered by the world around us.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A book person's book

I loved reading The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop. Lewis Buzbee takes the reader on a tour of his experience as a "book luster", reader, bookseller, and publisher's rep. Intertwined with this is a fascinating history of book publishing and selling, from the ancients to modern-day big-box chains. My only complaint is that the book desperately needed a proofreader -- way too many little typos and bizarre transitions. In talking about the Great Library of Alexandria, for instance, he explains how they went about amassing such a huge collection of books and then says "Still, it was the largest library in the world" (that's from memory, not an exact quote except for the still). I so often complain about the editing (or lack thereof) in books lately, but a small press and a rather short book really have no excuse.

Monday, June 11, 2007

One nicely detailed; another disappointly bland

The Mercy of Thin Air, by the intriguingly named Ronlyn Domingue, is a love story and a (somewhat predictable) mystery combined. The characters, even minor ones, were developed clearly, unlike in so many things I've read lately. I appreciated the mystery aspects even though I solved it very early, and I loved the intertwining past, present, and past-present.

I should have known by the gimmicky parenthetic title: Ann Brashare's The Last Summer (of You and Me) was a disappointment. I love the Traveling Pants books -- such lovable, realistic characters, despite occasionally unrealistic situations, and an excellent grasp of what it is to be a teenager. The Last Summer does not, unfortunately, grasp what it is to be 20-something. The characters barely have personality, let alone speak for a generation. The plot was just silly -- problems that weren't really problems, with overly dramatic twists to further complicate the non-problems. I liked the descriptions of the beach. That was about it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Rereading, part II

I love the characters in this book, in addition to the fact that it's just a great story. The people feel real and well-developed. The situation is so unrealistic, yet the characters make it feel real and possible. I wouldn't call it philosophical, but it does make you think about the nature of time, free will, destiny, how our actions and choices ripple throughout the lives of those around us.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Not for the miserable

I remembered that I loved this book the first time I read it, so it seemed time to read it again. The writing is exquisite. I love the rotating voices and how clearly each character's voice was separated from the others. The story is heartbreakingly beautiful and haunting. I had forgotten how difficult it was to realize how little thing have changed, or really, how much worse off we are, in terms of world politics. It ends on a hopeful note, but the state of today's world, I think, can no longer support that hope.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Never ending.

This started so well and then about halfway through just became, in a word, dull. I liked the characters but got bored with them; there wasn't enough happening to keep the book from dragging. I usually like Amy Tan, but Saving Fish From Drowning really wasn't worth the interminable time that it took me to read it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

All Saints

Finished this one a couple of weeks ago and forgot to post it. I liked the characters -- they are still memorable, even weeks later. The story was interesting and odd. I felt in some ways, though, that I wasn't getting the deeper meaning, but I was also wondering if that meaning really existed.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Brain candy, brain food

Two books this week, both of which were very fast reads but for different reasons. Nineteen Minutes was first. This is one of Jodi Picoult's better books. Most of the characters are more clearly drawn than those in her other recent books, even though I think Alex is the exact same character as Nina in Perfect Match. Overall an engrossing book for fans of Picoult's style.

I read Eat, Pray, Love in about three sittings, entirely because I could not put it down. Honestly, I laughed and cried and wondered and pondered and used almost every inch of my brain reading this book. Now, of course, I want to go to India and Italy and Indonesia, which is not a problem for my wanderlust-filled husband. I love Elizabeth Gilbert's style -- funny and warm while thoughtful and intelligent. And she loves food perhaps even more than I do.