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? 

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