October 22, 2014
This summer I unexpectedly ended up flying to London and back sans kids, which meant one thing: MINI-VACATION! Sixteen hours to myself, forced to sit in one place without internet and an endless supply of Kit Kats and Coke? I haven’t felt that pampered since the days I thought 8am was an early morning.
There was no way I was going to waste my time doing something as mundane as sleeping. Instead I watched the movie Chef (decent for an airplane movie), five episodes of Orange is the New Black, plus read The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty (which was delightful and I can’t recommend enough but was on my Kindle so will have to be reviewed at another time), and these three books. Sure I couldn’t put together a coherent sentence for the first two days of the trip, but totally WORTH IT.
I have to be honest, it was awhile back (and a couple of time zones ago), but I remember liking all three books a lot and thinking I really need to write a blog post on them (hence the photo) so stick with me while I do my best (I’ve lent them all out so I don’t have them for easy reference).
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion:
This book was a total surprise. Honestly, I only bought it because I needed something to read on the flight home and it was on sale for $3, but I ended up loving it.
It’s about a guy who has Aspergers and decides he wants to get married so goes about it in the only way he knows how – very methodically and scientifically. It sounds kind of silly and chick-lit-y, but it actually had a lot of depth and gave me a completely new perspective on Aspergers; Simsion artfully portrays Aspergers as simply a different way of approaching the world (and often a way that makes a lot more sense). I’ve thought about it several times since when my kids were going bonkers and stopped to think, “How can I see this from their perspective?”, which, to me, is the hallmark of a meaningful book (plus, it’s really funny).
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer:
I can’t decide if this was the perfect book to read as I’m turning 40 or the worst. Basically, The Interestings are a group of friends who meet at a summer art camp and become lifetime friends (for the most part). The book chronicles their lives as they navigate fame, success, marriage and unmet expectations. It’s highly readable and the characters are so well-developed I can still picture several of them in my mind, plus there are some twisty moments to keep it all moving along nicely, but now that I’m writing about I think it may have brought on a panic attack so read it at your own will if you’re approaching a big birthday (so it was probably the worst).
#GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso:
I’d been so looking forward to reading #GirlBoss – Sophia Amoruso is an Internet superstar, an all-around bad ass woman, and we have the same affinity for bangs so there was a lot of hype in my brain to live up to. And the book was…fine. There are some interesting parts – I loved all the juicy, behind-the-scenes insight into her early days; she’s incredibly inspiring and obviously a woman who knows how to work hard; her business savvy is beyond belief and, I imagine, for a young girl this could become a kind of tome. For me, as an old lady, I’ve heard most of the advice and while I always appreciate (and need) the reiteration, I think Start is a better, more hands-on business book, one that really made me want to get up and get working, whereas this was a fun, dishy read.
As good as any of these books may be, none of them can compare to the darling of my book club in my mind, The Secret Place by Tana French.
First, know I am over the moon about Ms. French (yes, she makes me want to go all New York Times on her even though if I met her in person I’d be way more UsWeekly) and, second, there is nothing I love more than a good whodunit. This is a page turner to be sure, but it’s deeper than that. She reminds us what it’s like to navigate the complex world of teenage years and how tender our friendships and selves can be at that age. The end was incredibly satisfying, but also left me feeling melancholy for those days when laying around with your friends all day was more than enough. Plus, her writing is, as always, spot on (I believe I’ve mentioned her use of semi-colons and the level of passion they inspire in me), and I realize that none of this is probably making you want to go out and get the book (melancholy! teenagers! grammar!), but just ignore this entire review and do it anyway.
And now I’m a little bit stuck. I’m thinking about reading Lena Dunham’s book? Any other suggestions?