Thanks to Instagram, a few weekends ago, I learned some very exciting news:
A new biography about Joan Didion is coming out at the end of August! I.cannot.wait. We don’t have any trips set in stone for the end of summer and I kind of want to take one just to read this book.
It got me thinking, it’s been a while since I jotted down thoughts on spring reading. So, in the order of LEAST FAVORITE BOOK BY FAR to a-very-close-tie for top three, purely for the sake of my memory, here’s some thoughts on recent books:
Not That Kind of Girl: Here’s the thing, most of the time when watching an episode of GIRLS, I spend the whole time horrified at the character’s narcissism, kind of disturbed, and frankly, pretty of bored. But there’s always those few moments when Lena Dunham just gets it with the writing, and picks up on those cringe-worthy millennial traits, and captures a slice of life in a way only a remarkably brilliant 27 (?) year old could do. Unfortunately, her book had very few of those moments.
The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing: What was this? That’s how I felt after reading this book. A book that opens with a wealthy family vacationing at their summer shore house definitely captures my interest, but just when I thought it would have an Emily Giffin-esque love story, it totally departed. I kept picturing Ernest Hemingway as the male lead and THAT was disturbing. I looked up the writer, and it seems like she may have been trying to get in on the Lauren Weisberger/Jennifer Weiner chick lit train, and that confirmed I have zero interest in reading any of their works. Ouch-that’s harsh. Either way, thumbs way down.
Innovative State: First 1/3 of this is fascinating. The history of the way the government fueled efficiency and innovation in the private sector and vice versa-really interesting. The rest….not so sure. The autobiographical pieces, while admirable, were not as interesting, and I gave up halfway through.
The Rosie Project-Maybe I’m cold hearted? Everyone in my book club LOVED this. Not sure why, I just could not get into it. Probably better to listen to it on tape. I think what drove me crazy was certain conversations and plot elements would drag on and on and then a serious twist would be burried in a sentence of seemingly never-ending dialogue. It seemed pretty imbalanced. It’s totally ready for a film adaptation, and I’ll probably see the movie.
One Last Thing Before I Go-Oh, this was so NOT nearly on the same level as This is Where I Leave You. Tropper’s observations in TIWILY had me pausing my audiobook and re-reading GoodReads quotes almost daily. With this, I read the book text, and I didn’t jot down a single quote! It’s definitely Tropper’s style, and could make a great movie, but nothing about the writing captured me. Of course, I loved Drew Silver’s parents, and the Versailles neighbor’s friendship was both tremendously depressing and sweet. Still, Drew Silver is no Judd Foxman, and this book left 10% of the emotional impression of TIWILY.
I Feel Bad About My Neck-Yay! Now we’re getting into the good stuff. Lady Nora is unmatched and this book had me laughing and getting teary-eyed while driving back from Palm Springs. Too many sweet chapters, but one of my favorites was her memory of her apartment, and the way her relationship with her home evolved. It’s the kind of chapter I could see myself re-reading when thinking about place and home and dealing with change.
Being Mortal-Read this over the winter, but never wrote about it. One of the best books I’ve read in recent years. I think I would say that even if I didn’t work in aging. Just as Wendell Potter’s Deadly Spin opened my eyes to the underworld of the health insurance industry, this left me constantly questioning our long-term services and supports structure (or lack there of). Plus, Gwande is a PHENOMENAL writer. I need to add Complications and the Checklist Manifesto to my OPL hold list.
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?-How am I 30 and only NOW discovery Roz Chast? Have I been living under a rock? Thank goodness my friend Hannah recommended this book or I would wasted more time wandering aimlessly through life without Chast’s hilarious observations as a guide. This book is sweet, heart-wrenching and SO HONEST. When I read Bittersweet Season, I thought no one could possibly capture caregiving and aging challenges as well as Jane Gross. Well, now Chast’s book is at the top of my This is the Book Anyone with a Parent or Loved One needs to read list.
Last, my personal favorite from the spring: Yes, Please. This book arrived at the OPL at the perfect time. All those years watching Weekend Update, I never thought Amy Poehler’s wise words would prove to be some of the most helpful when facing serious disappointment. I just spent about 5 minutes re-reading quotes from the book. I was going to include some, but there’s honestly just too much there. My old habit, when having a bad day, was to re-read sections of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? or GoodReads quote search Anna Quindlen. New habit: GoodReads quote search Yes, Please. It’s just so good.
Now, back to reading. A few years ago, Rebecca recommended Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Finally picked it up from the library and I’m absolutely loving it. Happy almost-weekend!