Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer Reading Update

I've been making really good on my promise to myself to read a lot for pleasure this summer - to read whatever I wanted as long as I was relaxing and enjoying myself and I certainly did. I've torn through several books in the past few weeks and before I rack up too many to keep track of, I wanted to share the books I've liked the best.

I'm still completely obsessed with Orange is the New Black and I can't wait to see the show on Netflix when I get back to Florida.

Loved Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker. I enjoy a good, true crime, mystery story every now and then and this one I liked because rather than focus on the killer, this book focuses on the victims, usually referred to as nameless prostitutes. Kolker gives them back the humanity their lives and deaths took from them and I really appreciated that when I read this. One warning, if you are like me you will be frustrated that the mystery isn't solved and you will be coming up with all kinds of theories.

After such a dark read I wanted something light and funny and maybe a little spiritual so I really had a good time with Brian Leaf's  Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi: My Humble Quest to Heal My Colitis, Calm My ADD, and Find the Key to Happiness. This guy is easily as funny as the big comedic memoirists. David Sedaris, Jen Lancaster, etc. Brian Leaf is freaking hilarious and more than a little bit enlightened. I love how he can write honestly and spiritually while also being totally up front about poop related issues. He's a master of quirky, pop culture references and reading this book put me in a great mood, except when it ended because I wanted more, but unfortunately the only other things this guy has written are some kind of test prep books or something. Oh, and it's about yoga, but you don't have to be a yogi to go along for the ride and enjoy the story. Buy this book. Now.

I heard an interview with Susan Choi on NPR last week and was intrigued so I came home an bought her new book  My Education. This is a literary book that takes itself very seriously, as do all the characters in it, and not everyone is going to like this book. Admittedly, I stuck with it because of the promise of hot sex scenes. Lesbian sex scenes no less and I was a little disappointed. They weren't really that hot to me. There were several drenched pubises, and the word pubis creeps me out, especially when drenched, so yeah, much literary sex. I think next winter when they give the worst literary sex scene awards out that My Education will probably sweep all categories. However, I am recommending this book because I think it had a surprising and good ending. So stick with it, even when the narrator names her child Lion, for God's sakes. It gets better and ends well.

I just started and am almost finished with  Coming Clean: A Memoir by Kimberly Rae Miller. It's really an amazing memoir of a girl who was raised in utterly, unbelievably squalid conditions because her parents were hoarders. The book is surprisingly not angry and very positive, though heart breaking, and I like how Miller presents the complexities of her parents' lives, giving some clues as to what drew them together and what made them the way they were. This is one of those books that I just CAN NOT PUT DOWN. In fact, I want to go finish it right now. It's fantastic, interesting, horrifying, entertaining and compassionate. Really well done. I'm jealous. Not because I wanted to grow up with fleas and rats in my house, but because I wish I could write as well as Miller and that I was half as pretty. Buy this one right now too. I'm serious. I'll wait for you.

Ok, you bought it? Good. Now I'm going to bed to go read.

Oh yeah, and don't forget my book! 
Amateur Night at the Bubblegum Kittikat

Thanks to all my readers and welcome, new blog readers who've arrived here after reading Amateur Night. It's great to have you!

Now, what are y'all reading? I need to know what to buy next. I keep hearing about Dad is Fat. Thoughts on that one?


jmm said...

Thanks WL, I just bought a couple of those books. It's just too easy, that 1-click. Anyway I'm loving your book and I don't want it to end.

Anonymous said...

A delightful old school summer read from 1959 - Cider with Rosie.

I think you'll like the gorgeous prose, you can preview it on Amazon:


Melanie said...

Sure, "Lost Girls" is frustrating because it's never been solved, but what if this book challenges someone to investigate further, and the case finally gets solved? That would certainly make the frustration worthwhile, right? (In the meantime, thanks for the warning!)

Wide Lawns said...

Melanie, I hope you're right, although if you read the book you might be inclined to think that the case kind of IS solved. Just read the book. You'll see. There are a couple of very shady suspects.

JoeinVegas said...

Still on the Terry Pratchett DiskWorld series. Nice light reads that make you imagine.

Anonymous said...

Try "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls~ powerful.

Melanie said...

OK - Now you've got me REALLY curious. I'll have to read "Lost Girls" as soon as I finish "Amateur Night"! (I used to be a fast reader but my eyesight isn't what it used to be, so I'm much slower these days.)

Melanie said...

Back in the day, "The Cider House Rules" by John Irving was a big hit, but I'm inclined to think that you may have been too young to read it back then. If you haven't ever read it, I think you would be doing yourself a favor to do so. (And don't think that seeing the movie will impart ANY of the important parts of the written work of art.) If you are contemplating any Big Questions About Life And Stuff, this book won't tell you what to think, but it might bring into focus your own hidden, internal beliefs that, until now, you hadn't been able to put into words. And it will certainly give you a different perspective on your own personal corner of the world.

Wide Lawns said...

LOVE Cider House Rules. Huge John Irving fan since I was a teenager. Owen Meany is probably one of my favorite books of all time, ever.

Melanie said...

I, too, am a fan of "A Prayer for Owen Meany." John Irving is an incredibly talented author.

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