7/29/14

Summer Reading

What am I reading? So much good stuff! Here are my summer reads so far. Don't read too much into the order of things. It's roughly the order in which I read them.

1. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. This is actually the first of a trilogy of dystopian novels that follow a group of survivors in the aftermath of a human-created virus that has wiped out almost everyone. No one does dystopia like Atwood. All three books are smart, funny, wise, and action packed. Can someone just give Atwood her Nobel Prize already? She is as good at it gets.

2. The Wordy Shipmates and Assassin Vacation by Sarah Vowell. Okay. Strictly speaking I did not read them. I listened to them while driving, cooking, etc. Time well spent people! The first book is a history of the Puritans in New England and the other is about the assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. I can only say that I wish I put my PhD in history to good use and wrote these brilliant books. Funny, smart, and so interesting--I can't help thinking that people would love history if all historians wrote like Sarah Vowell. Also, she is a great reader. These are definitely good audio book choices.

3. Not a good audio book choice: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Barbara Kingsolver: you are brilliant and this memoir of your year of eating local and growing all your own food is educational and politicizing. I'll visit the farmer's market more often, I promise. But MY GOD take it down a notch! Enough about your children who beg you for fruit and who can't get enough kale and raise their own chickens. And then you have the nerve to tell me how you all lay laughing on your bed one morning listening to your male roosters learn to crow. Show some grace. At least throw me a tantrum every now and then.

4. Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel. I know you love this book. Everyone loves this book, which is why I tried it a second time. I got farther this time, but I still couldn't finish it. Use some proper nouns, Hillary. How else can I tell who is talking?  Still, if you want to read about Henry VIII and his attempt to dump the first wife to get a new one, give it a try. Don't read it digitally. This is a book you will need to flip back and forth between. You need paper. People I respect love this book. I acknowledge that I might be wrong about this one.

5. Famous Baby by Karen Rizzo. On the surface, this seems like a book about mothers and daughters, but it is really about the stories we tell, the stories we don't tell, and who gets to not only tell those stories but own them. It is a quick read that is funny and breezy, so much so that you might miss the deeper questions it ponders. Don't miss them. They give this beach read worthwhile substance.


17 comments:

Cafe Pasadena said...

More Than a Parade by Mike Riffey of the Tournament of Roses about Rose Parade history.
Wish I had even 1/2 the time you do to read so many books!

altadenahiker said...

Not that you asked, but I'm all about Marilynne Robinson right now.

Olga Hebert said...

I have read The Wordy Shipmates and the Barbara Kingsolver book. Hilary Mantel is on my list. I just read Anna Quindlen's Still Life with Bread Crumbs and also got around to reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil--both good summer reads.

Cathy Perlmutter said...

Thanks for the suggestions. I desperately need a good read right now.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

So did you get through the Attwood trilogy? I loved Oryx and Crake. I didn't get to far into Year of the Flood though. Really, when I think to check out the book, it's not there - then I don't think about it till someone brings it up again.

Bec said...

Love Margaret Atwood and totally agree about Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I just finished "Where'd you go, Bernadette?" by Maria Semple and loved it.

Daisy said...

OK - I'm going to get reading again very soon! Started to listen to Tina Feb read "Bossypants". I love Tina! Keep forgetting to take it with me in the car and it's too darn hot to leave it there unless I want curled cd's.

Do you get the impression I feel guilty about my neglect of reading?

Daisy said...

Make that Tina "Fey" instead of "Feb". How I long for winter!

Ms M said...

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll add some of those to my ever-growing list.
I've been shamelessly reading suspense novels by Preston and Child for escape. Now I'm reading The Age of Wonder, by Richard Holmes.

Petrea Burchard said...

I felt the same way about the Atwood as you did about the Mantel, Margaret. I've loved the other Atwood I've read so maybe I should try again.

Olga, I also liked "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."

I finished "The Snow Child" by Eowyn Ivey. Bleh. A soap opera with stock characters and an unsatisfying ending or lack thereof. I've just picked up Dianne Dixon's "The Book of Someday." I'm only a few chapters in but so far it's unique and captivating, with good characters.

Margaret said...

Thanks for these suggestions. Pasadena Adjacent: I can lend you the other two books in the trilogy if you want? I got the first one from the library and liked it so much that I bought the other two.

John Scherber said...

I heard both Barbara Kingsolver and Margaret Atwood here at the San Miguel Writer's Conference in the past few years. If I may, I'd like to suggest my own mystery series for your readers.
Murder in Mexico is my series of twelve mysteries set in and around the upscale expat colony of San Miguel de Allende. Artist Paul Zacher is drawn into crime investigation because ‘he might see things differently.’ Maybe it’s time for the rich humanity of Mexico to show through all the narco headlines! Ready for the real Mexico, beyond the phony news reports? Take a look at this suspenseful and often funny series, available in Print, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBook in the Apple Store. Start with ‘Twenty Centavos’ by trying a sample on my website.

http://www.sanmiguelallendebooks.com/titles.html

Ann Erdman said...

My Mother was Nuts by Penny Marshall, Monster's Chef by Jervey Tervalon, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by (well, you know), Frog Music by Emma Donoghue, The Accidental Apprentice by Vikas Swarup, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (again). I recommend all of them.

LJ said...

I also could not get through Wolf Hall. I wanted so much to like that book.

Desiree said...

Just picked up Oryx and Crake
LOVED Cat's Eye

Margaret said...

So many suggestions. Thanks all. Next on my own personal list are Lesson Plans by Suzanne Greenburg and The Amado Women by Desiree Zamorano.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Cat's Eye - yes, about power struggles and placement within the herd. It was a haunting book for me. Read it in the high north. The inner deck of an Alaska cruise ship with my lounge chair turned towards a distant mountain range. Perfect life.

Sure Margaret - after the Amando Women