Thursday, June 29, 2006

An Embarrassment of Riches... (Summer Reading List, Week Four)

This past week has been a great one on the reading front. There were so many books that I truly enjoyed (and one total and complete dud.)

It was a diverse list this week, with no discernible theme, so there ought to be at least one book on this list that you will enjoy as much as I did... So without further ado, let me recommend to you the following:

The Good
  • Just Checking: Scenes from the Life of an Obsessive Compulsive - Emily Colas
    This was recommended to me by Editrix over at Pathetic Fallacy. This memoir is what I was hoping Devil In the Details was going to be... It's clever and entertaining, yet feels very genuine.

  • My Latest Grievance - Elinor Lipman
    I've enjoyed a few of Lipman's previous novels (this one is her eighth), and this might be my favorite so far. On the surface, it's the story of a scandal in a 1970's-era small women's college. However, the author's perfect ear for dialogue and her knack for descriptions make this much more of a clever and quirky (and loving) tale of family.

  • The Quitter - Harvey Pekar
    Yes, he's that American Splendor guy. This graphic novel takes a look at his childhood - ins short, the events that shaped him to be "that American Splendor" guy. Very interesting, and very boldly drawn

  • Early Bird: A Memoir of Premature Retirement - Rodney Rothman
    Rothman, once a writer for Late Night With David Letterman finds himself unexpectedly unemployed when his most recent TV show is cancelled. He decides to retire early. Way early. Like at age 28 early.... He moves to a senior "retirement community" in Boca - which is a funny enough premise. But remember the Letterman gig, boys and girls - the boy is hilarious! One of my favorite observations is this:
    I don't think Tuesdays with Morrie would have been quite so uplifting if that guy had to spend more than one day a week with Morrie
    There is no shortage of quick, wry observations - but he's not just taking cheap potshots at his fellow retirees. You can feel a genuine affection coming through. And although Rothman is quite self-deprecating, this memoir avoids the overly self-indulgent tone of so many other "quarter-life crises" novels....

  • Digging to America - Anne Tyler
    Another compassionate look at families - in this case two very different families who become acquainted after each has adopted a baby girl from Korea. Tyler always breathes such life into her characters - they sometimes behave nobly and beautifully, and sometimes they are ignorant and petty. However, they always, always ring true.

The Dud
  • Size 12 is Not Fat - Meg Cabot
    You might find yourself stumbling across this at the library. And you might think "Hey, I read several of the The Princess Diaries books and thought they were pretty cute. I bet this, a foray into the 'grownup' world of mystery novels, will be pretty cute as well!" And you would be wrong. Oh so very, very wrong...


blair said...

I almost bought "Digging To America' today, its on my list. Always enjoy hearing about new books, so thank you.

autum said...

Thanks for the reviews! I've got to do more reading.

capello said...

::looking at foot:: hmmmm... books....

jen said...

oh man. you put me to shame i am finally 1/2 way thru the time traveler's wife. and you've read 53 books since i've started it!