Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What I Read Wednesday

So last week, I kind of forgot about Wednesday, until all of a sudden it was Thursday night. Short weeks always mess with me.

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour: A Novel
Paul O'Rourke is a successful Park Ave dentist who loves the Red Sox, hates technology (except for message boards about the Red Sox) and is not a fan of organized religion. Then somebody fakes his identity online, creating a website for his dental business, a Facebook account, a twitter account, commenting on message boards and even emailing with him. This puts him into a tailspin, as he tries desperately to prove that he's not the Paul O'Rourke online--yet, he stops to listen to what this other person has to say about him and the way he's lived his life, too. I loved the voice in this novel, as well as the premise. It was not a read that I fell right in to, but it was a read that made me laugh out loud on occasion and one that made me think a little, too.

We Were Liars
Cadence, Johnny and Mirren are cousins who spend every summer at a private island owned by their grandfather, joined by Johnny's friend Gat--who comes from a decidedly less wealthy background. Together, they form the Liars and the bond they share is one that rekindles each summer. The fifteenth summer on the island is a little different, though. Cadence spends most of it trying to piece together her memory of what happened in a previous summer, knowing only that she was injured and now goes through horrific periods of migraines and other after effects.
I went in to this book having read only the synopsis on Amazon and was definitely the better for it. I didn't read any spoilers (seriously, stay away from Amazon) and just fell into the spell of the book and watching Cadence desperately try to repair herself and the Liars that I enjoyed the story and the turns it took. It kept me reading past bedtime because I wanted to know how it ended.

The Pigman
I sat in on an interview where I got to ask candidates what would be their ideal book to teach to middle schoolers. One candidate mentioned this book. I'd never read it and it sounded interesting. Written from the perspective of John and Lorraine, two teenagers, Pigman tells the tale of how a dare ends up with an unlikely friendship with Mr. Pignati. Except that by the time of writing, Mr. Pignati is dead and John and Lorraine say that it wasn't murder, not really. This book was not the most uplifting, but it had surprising humor in amongst the sadness and a really good lesson.

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage
I don't read a lot of memoirs because I often think things like, "Why do I want to read about your boring life? I have my own." This one was good, though, and told the story of the opening of Delancey, the trials and tribulations of getting a restaurant off the ground and what it does to a marriage. I also loved that the author included recipes after each chapter. This led to Shane making a delicious fried rice with kale. Aside from that, it was really fascinating to read about how they took a dream and made it a success.

Boy, Snow, Bird: A Novel
Once there was a girl named Boy who ran away from her abusive rat catcher of a father, to fall in love with a man and become loving stepmother to a girl named Snow, until she has a daughter of her own, named Bird. Boy never dreamed she'd become a wicked stepmother, but when Bird is born with skin darker than her mother or father, it becomes evident that her husband's family are light-skinned African-Americans "passing" as white. Instead of sending away Bird, Boy sends away Snow so to avoid everyone comparing Snow and Bird forever. I loved the prose in this book, as well as the literary allusions. The point-of-view shift at the end lost me a little, but I still overall enjoyed this novel and the message it sends about the choices we make.

What are you reading?


InTheFastLane said...

Thank you for posting this!!! It feels like a gift from you to me :) That's just how self centered and narcissistic i am :)

Any way, I am definately putting To Rise Again on my reading list. I'd been mulling that one over anyway.

This last week I read The Painter. I did not love it near as much as the Dog Stars and I kind of slogged through it. I loved the imagery of the world around him, though.

I all read The Storied Life of AJ Fikry. I feel like you may have reviewed this book already. I LOVED it. All the things I love in one place. A book about books? And I love story and funny snarky intelligent people? Loved.

InTheFastLane said...

I forgot the book that I just finished yesterday! The Headmaster's Wife. For the first part of the book I was really drawn into the mystery of the person who seemed like an big pervert evil doer. Turns out he was mainly just a normal evil doer...interesting plot twists.

Barb Ruess said...

Lots of good ideas added to my "to read" list this week - thank you!

I've recently read The Storied Life of AJ Fikry which I loved for all the reasons Sarah mentioned. Then I read Starvation Lake - a mystery set in a small Northern Michigan town. All good things a small town mystery should be: secrets, surprises, misconceptions - it ended up really pulling me in.

Stephanie Wilson she/her @babysteph said...

I just ordered We Were Liars from the library and can't wait to read it. I am always a little behind the trend on most books- am currently reading Wild and about to start Invisible Girls for book club. AND just finally read The Book Thief many years after everyone else. I loved every word of that one.

So looking forward to summer reading!

Lyndsay W said...

Just finished The Wives of Los Alamos - really liked it!
Next is The Tyrant's Daughter.

Anonymous said...

I just finished Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and I loved it. I recommend it, if you haven't read it. You probably have, since I'm late to jump aboard the Moyes bandwagon.

We Were Liars sounds really interesting. I added it to my list.

Theresa Mahoney said...

I remember reading The Pigman in middle school. I think I really enjoyed that book. I forgot all about it until now. Thanks for the memories :)

Jacki said...

I love posts about books..that's how I get my ideas.
I finished What Alice Forgot, The Vacationers and Labor Day. All extremely easy reads which is about all I want for the first days of summer.

One crazed mommy said...

Reading Chasing the Sun - it started a little slow, picked up then I got busy...just picked it up again, and I really have NO idea what the ending has in store...nearing hte end and want to find out what happens!