Sunday, August 07, 2011

Books Books Books Books Books

With the book reviews for other sites and my recent discovery of, I'm sort of obsessed with reading lately, even more so than normally. I feel like I have incredible access to such a variety of books in so many formats: the library, free books from Blogher, free e-galley copies of books that haven't even been released yet. It is wonderfully overwhelming. And my mild ADD is forcing me to jump sometimes between four different books before I finally settle in to one. Though forced deadlines always help. This is what it looks like part of every weekend and every evening. Book nerds unite.

I set a goal to read 52 books this year, which I got close to last year but fell a bit short on. And it's August and I've already read 48 this year. I think I'll make it. Which I suppose means now I need to focus on cooking more of those 52 new recipes and more of the 52 creative endeavors. Maybe I need to finish that 10 year photo album that I started in February? But until then, here's what I've been reading in the last month.

The Kid by Sapphire- Blogher Book Club- again I've already reviewed and talked about this one. But in case you missed it, head over here. It's bleak. But I've already shipped it off to Virginia to be read by one friend, and I look forward to sending it to the next brave soul willing to give it a try. Let me know and I'll put you on the list.

Darkness Take My Hand (#2) by Dennis Lehane- I started this private investigator series by Dennis Lehane back in June. Read my quickie review here. Then when I picked up this second book in the series, obsession hit me like a hammer. I proceeded to put the next 4 books in the series on hold at the library and devour them in about a day and half each. July was the month of Lehane. I adore him. And his PI's, Angie Gennaro and Patrick Kenzie. Somehow Lehane writes these action packed mysteries with the most fully flushed out characters and this gorgeous unexpected writing and humor amid all the hideous violence. They are rough and dangerous, but filled with such brave, funny, real characters trying to figure out how to make good choices in the midst of often bizarre and complex mysteries, that I wish there were another six to read. This book was my favorite in the series, but I can't recommend the whole group highly enough.

Sacred (#3) - Lehane addiction continues. This books includes a cult, incest, sociopaths and murderous butlers. Oh, yeah.

Gone Baby Gone (#4)- Lehane addiction continues. You've probably seen the movie. It's good, but the book is better. Yes, I know you aren't surprised.

Prayers for Rain (#5)- Lehane addiction continues. I found this one more depressing than some of the others. Though Bubba, one of my favorite characters, finds a girlfriend and that's hilarious. You'll see. Go get these.

The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw- After the joy of my Lehane weeks and my anxious anticipation for the final book in the series to come available at the library, I picked this book up after browsing through the long, dusty shelves at my air conditioned library. I think it was a hot day and the pool on the cover cooled me off just by looking at it. This book was just a little bland. The love story, the mystery, the writing, it all fell a little flat for me. I didn't hate it but I didn't feel anything very strongly other than, it was ok. But I was glad when it was over so I could move on to something else. I skimmed the last half. And that's not a ringing endorsement.

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles - As soon as I finish writing this post, I'm off to finish writing my Blogher Book Club review for this book. It will be an easy thing to write because I adored this book. Adored it. Probably one of the best books I've read all year, maybe the last two years.

Moonlight Mile (#6) by Dennis Lehane - This is the final book in the Lehane PI series. It's set 10 years after the last book, because it was actually written nearly ten years after Prayers for Rain. Following up with the little girl that goes missing in Gone Baby Gone, this book captures the same magic, but our intrepid PI's are in a tougher place emotionally and financially. Again, it's like catching up with old friends. Old friends who carry guns and know how to use them. I will miss Patrick and Angie. And look forward to re-reading these books in about a year. Joe started the first one yesterday, and I'm trying not to constantly ask if he likes it. Trying.

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz - I liked this book at first. But after a bit it began to grate on me a bit. The premise of a young Californian short order cook who can see dead people and has a circle of eclectic small town friends including a girlfriend named Stormy who picnics with him in church belltowers, is entertaining. But the writing just didn't live up to my expectations. The ghost of Elvis hangs around too much for me. It felt like Koontz was trying to write like Christopher Moore or Neil Gaiman in Good Omens. Just not as well executed. Though the big twist ending had me tearing up, even though I kind of knew it was coming. Yeah, I still cried like a wuss. Even though this is part of a series, I think one Odd Thomas will do for me.

Coroner's Journal by Louis Cataldie - This book made me sad and respectful. I liked this book. It was insightful and direct. But by the end of 300 pages I felt a bit overwhelmed by all of the tragedy, violence and murder. This memoir increased my already significant respect for the men and women who do this type of work. Coroners, EMT, police, firefighters: these people see their fellow human beings at their worst and help solve the mysteries, bring justice and clean up after nightmares. They are stronger than I can imagine. But again, a hard book to finish.

Up next? I have no idea. I have these choices: Faithful Place, the third in the Dublin mystery series by Tana French for Blogher, Theodora: Actress, Empress Whore, a historical novel about a seductive empress from the 6th Century that comes out in September, Franklin and Eleanor, a nonfiction book about the Roosevelt's marriage, The Keeper of Lost Causes that comes out later this month which is supposed to be the new The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, or Love Child, about a forbidden marriage in 1920's South Africa. Or the 25 books sitting in my nightstand. I think I'm going with sexy empress.


bethany actually said...

You know, your posts about all the books you read have made me realize that I've gotten as picky about the books I read as I have about the movies I see. I used to see 100 movies a year, easy, but as I've gotten older I just don't WANT to see as many movies as I used to. I think the same is true of books. I expected that realization to make me sadder than it did.

And yes, this is probably partly (though not entirely) because I have kids now. My free time is much sparser and dearer than it used to be. If I don't love a movie or a book I don't want to waste my time with it, I guess. Sigh.

Kassie said...

I'm actually quite picky about books too. The luxury of the library I think. I tend to give a book about 50-100 pages and if I still don't care about the characters or wonder what's going to happen next I either quick skim to see what happens or I give up. Last night I gave Julie and Julia and Cleaving a try and neither one did it for me. So back to the library they go. I'm sure if we have kids I'll read a little less, but I don't think I would know what to do if there wasn't a stack of books next to my bed that I was anxiously waiting to dive into. We cut back on movies at the theatre but probably watch more interesting things via Netflix, certainly more educational!

bethany actually said...

Yeah, I'm sure with me it's almost entirely a time issue. And right now, I really want to crochet with as much of my free time as possible and I have yet to figure out how to read and crochet at the same time in an efficient manner. And books on CD aren't the answer; I don't really like those unless I'm driving in a vehicle. (I liked Julie & Julia but couldn't get into Cleaving.)