Sunday, July 1, 2012

Books of May and June

Reading is my favorite diversion.  With all the stress this summer, it's what I do to keep my mind occupied.  And as you'll see, I've done a lot of reading in the past two months.

The Duchess of Palms by Nadine Eckhardt

Memoir by a woman who grew up in a small town, became part of the "in" crowd in Austin and Washington.  Her life as part of LBJ's inner circle, a hostess, entrepreneur, mover in fast company, and episodes with two relatively famous husbands.  Wow!

The Witness by Nora Robers.  I confess, she's my favorate romance author.  This book is about a teenage genuis whose life is tightly controlled by her mother.  She sneaks out to go bar hopping with a friend, witnesses a murder and goes into witness protection.  We find her years later living with her dog in a small southern town, where she meets the sheriff, who, like all Roberts' heroes, is strong but gentle, unbelievably sexy, etc.,etc.  Together they confront her past and build their future.  If you like romance, you'll find this one of Roberts' best.

The Presidents Club by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy.  Switching genres, I found this look at how former presidents work together intriguing. Did you know that Clinton and Nixon spoke almost every day?  That Clinton became almost a part of the Bush family?  That Truman sought Hoover for some of his most ambitious projects after WWII? 

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver.  I didn't see the movie, which I heard was excellent, but I found myself engrossed in the book as told by the mother of a boy incarcerated for a school massacre.  She wasn't sure she wanted this child, never bonded with him, and somehow knew from the beginning there was "something wrong."  The characters of the mother and father are overdrawn but the book is still great summer reading.

As Texas Goes... by Gail Collins.  As a native Texan, I should have despised this book.  Maybe it was because I needed to get my mind off my son's illness, but I thought Collins' view of my state was quite amusing. 

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel.  The sequel to her Booker Prize winner Wolf Hall, this continues the story of Thomas Cromwell.  Here we see his role in bringing down Anne Boleyn and freeing Henry VIII to marry Jane Seymour, wife number three.  At the end, Cromwell is at the peak of his power, but that's not gonna last.  I'm looking forward to volume 3.

Calico Joe by John Grisham. I love sports books, but I prefer non-fiction. This is, of course, fiction. It's the story of a boy and his dad a major league pitcher who ends the promising career of a superstar rookie by beaning him. Not as good as some baseball books, but not bad.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman.  This book netted Grossman a cult following among sci-fi / fanatasy aficianodos.  It was a book club pick and one I could have done without.  Not because of the genre, but because it was a really boring book (with lots of grammatic errors that drove me crazy).  The characters weren't interesting, the plot lacked tension, and I kept counting the pages left till the end.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, a young adult recommended by my granddaughter.  If you're tired of take-offs on The Hunger Games, this is as far away as you can get.  The main characters are teenagers with cancer.  If that doesn't sound appealing, read a few pages.  These are kids, cancer or not, you'd probably like to know.

One Hundred Names for Love by Diane Ackerman.  A memoir of her husband's stroke and its aftermath, this book was recommended by a speech pathologist friend soon after my son's stroke.  When I heard it was by Diane Ackerman, I was excited to read it.  Alas, I didn't like it.  Maybe I read it too soon, but it affectedt me very much the way Joan Didion's book The Year of Magical Thinking, about her husband's death didt when I read it a few weeks after my husband died.   Ackerman keeps reminding the reader she's a poet and author by slipping into long descriptions of nature; she's constantly harping on how quirky and clever she and her husband are--they enjoy kicking Kleenex boxes down the hall at each other..  I was encouraged that her husband got better and even wrote several books after he recovered (He, too, is an author) but I think I might do better with My Stroke of Insight.

Whew, I read a lot, didn't I?  If you have opinions, about any of these books or if you have recommendations for others, please share them.



Template by: Bright Sunshine Designs by Mary - Affordable Custom Blog Design © 2011