Monday, July 08, 2013

The Monday Reading Wrangleydoo

Hosted by Sheila from BookJourney.
Finally, I got some reading done this weekend. The past week has been non-bookish. I've been trying to dig into A Prayer for Owen Meany but it's going to take some time. A slow build, if you will. I was also trying to read some smaller books alongside it, but The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, wasn't doing it for me. Neither was A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. In an effort to assuage a slump, I figured I'd just try something COMPLETELY different.

Jeanette Walls's The Glass Castle, was just what I needed. I gulped down over 250 pages of it on Saturday to finish it off. I can't wait to do a proper review of this one, because it may be one of the best memoirs I've ever read. It was engaging and a quick read, but it was also emotional and fired me up (THOSE PARENTS). This was my first completed book for The Estella Project. Now I just need to finish Owen Meany and read The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell, to meet my goal.



I started reading Aimee Bender's story collection, The Color Master, and I'm afraid it's not doing much for me. I've read two or three stories already and I found them odd (but not in a good way), and they felt quite unfinished. I know a lot of people get that feeling from short stories, but if it's a really well-done story, I usually don't feel that sense of incompleteness. I'm not saying they're badly written. The language is beautiful, and the plots are quirky, but there's just something that isn't working for me in this collection and in her style. I felt the same way when I laid Willful Creatures aside a while back. Her shorts just may not be my bag since I loved The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. I'm going to try a few more before I officially lay this one aside, but right now I'm pretty let down.


In better news, I'm thoroughly enjoying Lily Koppel's The Astronaut Wives Club. It's incredibly readable and fast-moving, and I have a feeling I'll be finished with it soon after taking great gulps to finish it. The only potential problem: there are A LOT of wives, and sometimes it's tough to remember who's who. I'm Googling pics of them and their husbands regularly. I may be totally overwhelmed with names by the time this is done. We'll see.

And finally, I'm a bad monkey. I added more books to my shelves this weekend. Though, I did also cull quite a few to make some more space. Most of the culled books were things I'd received from publishers (unsolicited) or books that were DNFs.


It was a sale!!! They were $3 each. I know, I know. 

The Angel Maker by Stefan Brijs - The village of Wolfheim is a quiet little place until the geneticist Dr. Victor Hoppe returns after an absence of nearly twenty years. The doctor brings with him his infant children-three identical boys all sharing a disturbing disfigurement. He keeps them hidden away until Charlotte, the woman who is hired to care for them, begins to suspect that the triplets-and the good doctor- aren't quite what they seem. As the villagers become increasingly suspicious, the story of Dr. Hoppe's past begins to unfold, and the shocking secrets that he has been keeping are revealed.

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok - When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family’s future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition. Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer - Joan Castleman sits beside her husband on their flight to Helsinki. Joan's husband, Joseph Castleman, is one of America's preeminent novelists, about to receive a prestigious international award to honor his accomplishments, and Joan, who has spent forty years subjugating her own literary talents to fan the flames of his career, has finally decided to stop.


And the crown jewel of the new books is this Canterbury Classics edition of Sherlock Holmes stories. It's an  awesome, flexible, supple leather cover. I hate hardcovers, and this is the perfect solution. A nice, heavy, comfy-to-hold, beautifully constructed edition. I've actively avoided all things Arthur Conan Doyle since high school when one of his stories put me to sleep. But since I've fallen in love with the updated BBC series, I'm keen to compare and contrast the television show to the original stories. I read a few paragraphs of "A Scandal in Bohemia," the story upon which my fave new Sherlock episode is based. I'm already impressed!

What are you reading and buying lately? 



38 comments:

  1. Ooh my goodness, there is. So much to comment on in this post and I can only use one finger! Ugh! Quick breakdown:

    I'm loving Owen Meany! Read a hundred pages on the way to the beach yesterday.

    I felt Lemon Cake felt incomplete so I think I will steer clear of Ms. Bender.

    Girl in Translation was a great read.

    That edition of Conan Doyle is gorgeous! Yay, I knew you would love Sherlock (the show). I love it and the stories. Hope you do too!

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    1. LOL, you're a trooper for commenting on blogs with one finger. I simply can't do it!

      I'm so glad you're loving Owen Meany. I'm devoted to reading another chunk of it today. I started The Sparrow last night after I finished The Astronaut Wives Club, and I know I'll gulp it down and ignore Owen if I don't give him an hour at lunch time.

      Yay! Didn't realize you'd read Girl in Translation.

      Isn't it?? I love it. So pettable. Totally in love with the show. Totally. I think having watched it will enhance my reading of the stories (Benedict Cumberbatch).

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  2. Good sale finds! I've heard great things about Girl in Translation and I have a copy of The Wife waiting for me, too.

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    1. Woot! The Wife is tiny which is secretly the reason I picked it up. I've had chunkier books by Wolitzer on my shelves over the years to no avail.

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  3. I recently read "Willful Creatures" and was "meh" about it, too. Maybe I'll try one of her novels next time.

    I started Owen Meany last night, and am wondering why I haven't re-read it sooner. Looking forward to talking about it!

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    1. Definitely try one of her novels. I don't think I'll be devoting much more time to her short stories. Makes me so sad because I WANTED to like them!

      Yay for Owen! Enjoy your re-read. :)

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  4. Interested to see what you think about that Wolitzer novel since I wasn't overly thrilled with The Interestings! She's definitely a great writer.

    Yay for new books! That Sherlock Holmes is gorgeous.

    I finally got my last two Penguin English Library editions in the mail from the Book Depository and participated in the Barnes and Noble Fourth of July/Buy one get one 50% sale! I finally got my hands on Lexicon by Max Barry and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra.

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    1. I have a bunch of her books (The Uncoupling, Ten Year Nap), and I've never read her. Sad! This one is tiny, so I think I can swing it. lol

      And I'm glad you got your shipment from The Book Depository! I'm still waiting on my Matilda (hopefully this week), and I'm considering grabbing a few more Penguin English Library editions. Maybe a couple of Elizabeth Gaskell's books.

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  5. I saw another Aimee Bender recently, I'm not sure which, but wasn't sure about it for similar reasons - the oddness of her writing. Admittedly in my case that's from the ending of Lemon Cake, but I think I can see how her short stories might not work.

    Love the look of the Sherlock Holmes book, really nice! I'm reading Lean In and The Omnivore's Dilemma.

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    1. I usually like oddness, but these feel odd and somehow unfinished. Not a great combo for me. I prefer my odd/magical short stories more in the Alice Hoffman vein.

      I have TWO copies of The Omnivore's Dilemma. Twice the incentive to read it, but I still haven't done it. Arrgh!

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  6. Ooooh The Glass Castle! I can't wait for your review because, well... THOSE PARENTS!!!

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  7. The Glass Castle...ahhhh! Those parents indeed! I'd really like to re-read that one.

    I'm looking forward to your final thoughts on Astronaut Wives. I've been hearing about the crazy amount of characters and I'm wondering how it will hold up because of that.

    The Estella project is going well for me. I've read two and will be starting Meany very soon :)

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    1. I just want to grumble and shake my fists at those parents.

      Crazy amount of players in this book is SO TRUE. Still a good read (4/5 stars), but it had a few issues.

      I'm finally getting into Meany. Finally.

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  8. I'm supposed to be getting The Astronaut Wives club on audio and I'm really looking forward to it. I LOVE the cover of The Angel Maker!

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    1. I hope you'll like it on audio! It's very engaging and conversational, so I think that will be a really good format. And I adore that cover, too. Mine is different but still delicious.

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  9. Noooooooooo! I'm so sorry you weren't into the Bender. I'll be reviewing it closer to the release date but, I loved it so much I'm having trouble expressing why. Her stories are definitely odd. Crazy bizarre. But they're so... I don't know, they feel like old fables to me. (Plus, being a huge Murakami fan probably helps me get through oddness ha!!!)

    I totally want to read The Astronaut's Wives Club. And btw, I am loving E&P (which I know isn't mentioned in this post) but it is so stinkin' sweet I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop...

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    1. I replied to you personally via e-mail, but let's just put it this way: it will be the longest, most thoughtful DNF review ever. lol

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  10. As an experienced word maker upper I'm giving "Wrangleydoo" a high five.

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    1. Thank you!!!! Much appreciated. ;)

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  11. WOW at the Sherlock Holmes.... it just looks PRETTY!!

    I read one Meg Wolitzer book and did not really like her style so am curious what you will say of this one. The Angel Maker looks very interesting though.

    Looking forward to your "proper review" of the Glass Castle... Those Parents indeed!!

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    1. Isn't it??? I just adore it. And it feels so nice in my hands!

      I'm curious what I'll think of her style, too. It seems hit or miss. Also looking forward to Angel Maker!

      Can't wait to review Glass Castle!

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  12. The Angel Maker looks fantastic. I want to read it now.

    What am I buying? Too much. I am waiting for Tampa to arrive. It may be shocking, but I tend to love that sort of thing.

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    1. I saw it in passing on YouTube or somewhere and had to snatch it up. Was so excited when I found it in the bargain section.

      I'm also buying wayyyy too much.

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  13. I loved The Glass Castle. And I remember being just as riled up as you were. Great memoir, but it definitely left you feeling a bit emotional.

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    1. Gosh yes. So very riled. I have no idea how those kids made it out of that childhood in tact and as grounded as they were.

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  14. I loved The Glass Castle, and also hated her parents.

    I've had The Wife on my to read list for a long time, and haven't gotten around to it. I hope you enjoy it!

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    1. I've had Wolitzer on my pile for a long time (Ten Year Nap, The Position, Uncoupling) and I haven't read any of them! I'm hoping this short volume will help me move things along.

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  15. That Sherlock Holmes book is beautiful!

    You've been quite busy both with reading and filling up your personal library - I love it! I hope you'll enjoy all your books Andi :)

    Thanks for stopping by my It's Monday! post earlier.

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    1. I just love it! And there are several other classics in similar editions that I'm trying not to buy. lol My personal library doesn't need to be filled quite this fast. Luckily, I culled some books this weekend.

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  16. Loved Girl in Translation! Wives sounds really interesting. It's not one I think I'll go and look for specifically, but it's one that I might look for at the library or grab if I see it.

    I'm reading He's Gone by Deb Caletti, and while I like it, it's dragging a little for me.

    -Rebecca @ Love at First Book

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  17. Sometimes you just have to add a new book to the mix right? Ok, I'm really liking the cover of The Angel Maker. Hope that turns out to be a good read!

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  18. I'm jealous you have the new Bender already! And I hope I have a different experience than you with it :p After Lemon Cake, I read The Girl With the Flammable Skirt and actually liked those short stories, so hopefully I'll like this one....we'll see :/ I really wish she'd write another novel!

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  19. Ah the new Bender! I'm disappointed that it's not doing anything for you. I just requested it. Hopefully the stories get better as you go. I hope you have an amazing week!

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  20. I think I'd like The Astronaut Wives Club too...hope you continue enjoying it! I've got waaaaay too many books in progress right now--eight that I'm actively reading. I'm enjoying them all (even the ones for school) but it's frustrating because I feel like I'm getting nowhere.

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  21. Love the BBC's Sherlock, too as well as Elementary (on CBS?) - I'm thinking I need to pick up some Conan Doyle myself. Don't entirely give up on A Little Princess and The Awakening!

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  22. I'm listening to Silver Star by Jeannette Walls on audio now, read by the author, and am enjoying it. I'm a big Meg Wolitzer fan and have read most if not all of her novels. I think Surrender, Dorothy was the one that got me hooked. (It's set at a summer house, so it's a good one to read in the summertime.)

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  23. Thanks a lot, I just added that Sherlock Holmes to my cart :P I LOVE Holmes and have whole canon in those cheap mass market paperbacks that make your fingers grey when you read them so, technically, I NEED this, right? Love those Word Cloud covers too!

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