November Books

40. All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg – eh, I’m indifferent. It’s fine, it was a quick read about a woman in her late 30s who feels she hasn’t made anything of her life. It’s not a linear story but each chapter highlights some different episode of her life, but they do all work together.

41. The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel – I actually started this book on the plane to Ireland, but couldn’t “check it out” again when it expired. Non-fiction biography of a man who spent 20 years in the woods in Maine, having no contact with the rest of the world. Very interesting, makes me think about being a hermit (I think I could do it, tho I do love the internet). 

 

In progress: What Happened by Hillary Clinton and The Nix by Nathan Hill

October Books

36. The Daily Show (The Book) – I love the Daily Show, I love Jon Stewart. I cried when he left, and I cried again when he left in the book. If you like(d) the show, it’s a good read about the history and behind the scenes activities that went into producing the show during Jon’s years.

37. The Antiques: A Novel by Kris D’Agostino – this might have been another book off the funny book list I mentioned before, or it could have been another list of books everyone should read…Whichever list it was, I disagree. It was not funny and all the characters were hateful. There were some slightly amusing moments once the entire family got together for their father’s funeral, but as a whole, not funny. It wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t recommend it. So many other books to read.

38. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – I’ll get this out of the way – I was reaaaaallly annoyed that he made the underground railroad, that factually exists, into an ACTUAL UNDERGROUND TRAIN. It constantly bugged me, because people are dumb enough to believe that it’s true (case in point, J’s mom has an actual slave hidey hole in her house, it was a stop on the UR, has a memorial in the yard etc. She talked to someone who stopped at the memorial and the guy didn’t believe in the UR because “they never found evidence of the trains”). The era of fake news and all. So I feared that people will read this, and treat it like an actual history book. J, the english major, pointed out how the actual train is a literary device that allows Cora to experience a variety of different slave experiences blahblahblah lit stuff. And he’s right. And we both agreed people dumb enough to believe it was an actual train are unlikely to read this book anyway LOL *elitists* ANYWAY beyond that, I enjoyed it, it was a good story and gave a good/sad look at the slave life.

39. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon – recommended by a friend who mentioned the play was coming near me, and 2nd by another friend, I put it next on my reading list. A story told by a high functioning kid with some kind of learning disability (assume autism). It was a good story, but a little depressing and I don’t really know how it would translate to stage (esp if it’s a musical, which I’m not sure if it is or not). Worth reading for sure.

In progress: What Happened by Hillary Clinton and All Grown up by Jami Attenberg

September Books

32. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer – loved it. At first I was put off by the fact it was told through letters, but once I got into the story you didn’t even notice. It was cute, and sad, and uplifting, and super enjoyable.

33. Star Island by Carl Hiaasen – an alright tale of a spoiled pop singer with a drug problem, and a paparazzi trying to take advantage.

34. Chomp by Carl Hiaasen – back to a more humorous story, about a reality show star from a survivalist show who is actually an idiot, and a father and son hired to help him in the Everglades for the show. Amusing and quick.

35. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher – a girl’s story about her suicide told through cassette tapes to one of the people she “blames”. It’s sad, but it’s interesting, and sometimes you don’t like her that much because she seems super self centered, but then you remember they’re teens, and teens are self centered. A good read.

In progress: The Daily Show (still)

August Books

28. The Unbearable Lightness of Scones by Alexander McCall Smith – it was alright. A story following a score of people, with no real plot, just a story of life. Amusing at times, not LOL funny, but just…alright.

29. Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell – a collection of essays about race issues. Some were interesting (including the title essay), some were more dry and repetitive. It was interesting but by the end I was ready for it to end.

30. Trap Line by Carl Hiaasen – not like his other books, this one isn’t a light hearted amusing Florida tale, but a serious Florida tale focusing on drug trafficking. Not bad, but not what I was expecting based on the previous ones that I read.

31. The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall – an amusing tale of a young girl with and old mom, and secrets. Compared to Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, it wasn’t laugh out loud funny like Daisy (nothing is!) but it was a cute story with some chuckles. Quick read.

In progress…The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows. and An Oral History of the Daily Show

July Books

23. The Nazi Doctors – Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide by Robert Jay Lifton – a heavy book that took me over 4 months to read. Interesting but a bit too much for someone like me who is just looking for a little history and insight.

24. Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson – This book came from this list of 18 laugh out loud books for your book club.  The write up sounded like, sure, that could be amusing. Turns out, it WAS NOT. Nothing about this story was even the slightest bit amusing. It was sad, it felt lonely, and it was not at any point humorous. And even though I guess it had a happy ending, it didn’t feel uplifting. It wasn’t bad, but going into it thinking it was going to be funny made it into a let down.

25. Flush by Carl Hiassen – Another amusing book by Hiassen with quirky characters and a fast moving story. Many more of his books on my list to go.

26. The Girls by Emma Cline – a fairly quick read about girls in a cult, that is absolutely hands down no question based on Charles Manson. It wasn’t bad, wasn’t mind blowing.

27. Looking for Alaska by John Green – I’ve read several of his books now, they are enjoyable and typically have a good story.

In Progress:  Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell, The Unbearable Lightness of Scones by Alexander McCall Smith

June Books

20. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese – it took 4 check outs from the library, and almost 6 weeks but I finished a book!
21. Skink – No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen – and then I read another in 4 days!
22. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini – another quick read about a teenage boy suffering from depression and his week on a mental ward. Very good, especially if you suffer from depression as well.

May books

19. And Then There Were Nuns – Jane Christmas – (non fiction) – The 2nd Jane Christmas book this year, a memoir about following her “calling” to a religious life. Interesting and not overbearing with religion.

I fail at reading in May. I blame vacation week, and wanting to be lazy and play phone games.

April Books

14. Where’d You Go Bernadette – Maria Semple
15. Today Will Be Different – Maria Semple – Both books were excellent, and I may have a new author to keep tabs on. I haven’t had that since Chuck Palahniuk over 15 years ago. They both take place in Seattle, with a tie in of the same school being featured in both, but they are not a series. Quirky female leads star, without being the typical bang wearing ukelele playing hipster nerdy quirky girl we’ve gotten used to (Eleanor and Park, Star Girl, Zoe whatshername Deshanel?) The storytelling style made you want to keep reading, and I finished “Today” in less than 3 days (another thing I haven’t done in years and years). They weren’t mind blowing, twist filled, stories like Palahniuk’s were, to grab my attention, they were just so well written, and entertaining. Loved.
16. Incontinent on the Continent – Jane Christmas – (non fiction) A travel memoir of a mid 50s woman taking her elderly disabled mother to Italy for 6 weeks. It was amusing, and sometimes sad, and sometimes funny. I can’t imagine what kind of insanity took over to even think that a trip like that was a good idea. In 20 years when I’m in my mid 50s, and my mom, if still alive is mid 80s, I can’t think of a worse idea than to try to go on vacation to Europe with her for a week, let alone 6 weeks.
17. Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson – (non fiction) Interesting book, with lots of history and environmental info, about hiking the Appalachian Trail.
18. The Lost City of the Monkey God – Douglas Preston – (non fiction) Enjoyed this very much. Story of the rediscovery of a jungle city in Honduras, and the trials and disease the team faced in finding and excavating it. Fascinating.

March Books

9. My Seinfeld Year by Fred Stoller – a very short Kindle published “book” about the author’s year on the Seinfeld writing staff. He wrote the “soup is not a meal” episode. It wasn’t that interesting, but it was quick…more like a long magazine article.
10. How to kill 11 million people – Andy Andrews – a short essay published as a book, asking how the public could stand by while the Nazi’s killed so many, and why standing up for truth matters. Seemed a worthwhile read for the times.
11. Station eleven – Emily St John Mandel – a post apocalyptic book following a handful of interrelated characters as they survive through a flu pandemic that killed the majority of the world’s population. With so many end of times books out, it was a refreshing interesting page turner.
12. Hidden Figures – book the movie was based on, telling the story of the black women mathematicians working for the government in aeronautics. Good stuff.
13. The All Girl Filling Station – Fannie Flagg – one of my fav books ever is her Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man. This one didn’t approach the humor level, but it kept to her style of telling a story about strong women and women discovering themselves. An easy fun read.

book: ghetto girls

I use the overdrive app on my phone to borrow ebooks from my library. It’s pretty great. Browsing new book options after finishing the last Nazi book, I decided on Ghetto Girls. As I said, I was hoping for another Merivale Mall book. It was not that.

It was written by a black man, but it reads like it was written by a white suburban girl who’s only knowledge of ghetto life is from early 90 gangsta rap lyrics and watching Friday. In other words, I could have written it. Without getting into poor editing and continuity problems, it was tough. From the slang used, to the story line, it was out of a music video. In talking about it to Carolyn she said it almost sounds racist, if it hadn’t been written by a black man. And she’s right. It’s like a caricature. 2 thugs raping young girls, gang banging a stripper, doing drugs, shooting people who “do them wrong”. 3 young girls in a singing and dance group trying to make it. Rich uncle based on Puff Daddy. Crack head informants. One of the girls killing herself after banging one of the thugs, who killed her boyfriend just before that. It was ridiculous. I finished it, but it had no real ending, because there are 5 books that follow, which I’m going to pass on. I have a long reading list to get to.

I am surely no ghetto expert, and I know these kinds of people did exist but….really? Apparently it was pushed as a must read (or something) in Essense magazine, and it did well. Ok great, it got people to read, perhaps people who don’t typically read, but it’s garbage. Surely “hip hop” literature has something more to offer their target audience than this.

Unless I completely misread it and it was meant to be a lighthearted comedy. But it was pretty dramatic for a comedy.