What I Read Last Week
Despite having another challenging reading week, I finished 7 books. I also continued to read The Long Winter and Simple Abundance.
Have you ever read a book and not been sure why you liked it? This book contained elements that I usually find annoying, and yet, I liked it. The main character, Claire, travels to Oxford for a Jane Austen seminar and meets a woman who shows her a lost Austen manuscript. Parts of the manuscript are included in the book. Yeah, that's right, the author actually tries to write like Jane Austen. Normally when an author tries to do this, I hear a running commentary in my head that goes a little something like this, Oh sweet merciful God, no. NO NO NO NO NO NO. Make this stop. Take this pain away.
Can we all agree that trying to write like Jane Austen is unwise? It's never going to be as good. It's never going to be as satisfying. And yet, I enjoyed the other parts of the book enough to make up for it. There was also a surprise twist at the end that I didn't see coming.
This was my least favorite book of the week. The description on the back of the book says it's supposed to help us get to know ourselves better. What the book really contains is a recap of several books that are supposed to help me accomplish that, which left me feeling like I was reading a series of book reports. I don't think this book helped me get to know myself better, as promised. All it did was remind me of my worst moment as a nanny. On page 17, the authors asks, "Have you ever seen the movie The Sixth Sense?" And the answer is, yes. Yes, I have. I accidentally took 3 children to see that movie. Yeah, that's right. I took 3 children to a movie about a kid who sees dead people. In my defense, I had never heard of the movie and the oldest child had convinced his parents it was a comedy.
This book is technically a novel, but it feels more like a series of short stories that have some overlapping characters. The description on the back of the book makes it sound like the book centers around friends who attend a lot of weddings together. What it's really about is women who date men who are jerks. I think the book was well written, but I disliked the men the women were dating so much that it killed the enjoyment of the book. But what a pretty cover! (Yeah, I know, I'm shallow.)
Paris, My Sweet is a memoir about the authors love of Paris and baked goods. If you substitute Disney World for Paris, I could have written this book. When we have a family vacation planned, I research the restaurants and bakeries ahead of time. I consult menus and travel blogs. I cross reference. I draw up a food and baked goods schedule for the entire vacation. I read menus to my relatives until their eyes start to glaze over and each one of them starts to get that look that makes me think something in their soul has died. So, of course, I enjoyed this book. For those of you who don't spend your vacations eating baked goods like you're on your way to the electric chair, you might not like this book as much as I did. (You also probably don't have to switch to fat pants mid-way through your vacations like I do. And hey, good for you!)
I decided to read a book about the history of birth last week because if I have to suffer through a cold then I want to read about people who are suffering more than I am. This was a very well-written, well-researched book that I would definitely recommend. However, DO NOT read this book while eating. There are some really gross parts. I'm not a squeamish person, but the part of the book that described a woman performing an unmedicated c-section on herself made me want to curl up into the fetal position and spend some time gently rocking in the corner. I felt like I needed some pain medication just to read about that. And now I feel like I owe the writers of General Hospital an apology for complaining on a soap opera message board about how unrealistic it was for a woman to have a c-section outside of a hospital with only vodka as her anesthesia. I also feel like I need to re-evaluate the way I spend my free time in light of the fact that I was even on a soap opera message board to begin with. But hey, no one's perfect, right?
This book has all the charm and humor of the Elizabeth Taylor film by the same name. The movie and the book are very similar, to the point where it's hard to decide which one I like better.
This is my most pitiful book recap ever because I didn't jot down any notes while I was reading and I read it while hopped up on cough medicine. I'll try to be a better book blogger next week when I'm not sick!
I have mixed feelings about this book. There were parts of it that were really funny. But there were also too many emails. I hate when books include emails - with the exception of this email that the author's husband sent her:
"And no, I'm sorry to disappoint, but I don't think our e-mails to each other are just like the ones Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning used to send, for a variety of reasons, the first being he never worked for the phone company and to my knowledge she never got her fist stuck in a peanut butter jar."
Okay, so that email made me laugh. But most of the other emails felt like filler. My other problem with the book is that the author thinks being mean is funny. At one point, she starts making fun of a blind person who accidentally ran into a plexiglass wall. I enjoy lots of different kinds of humor. I even occasionally enjoy gross humor and immature humor. But I just can't get on board with mean humor.
Thanks for joining me for this recap of the books I read last week. If you have any suggestions for books you think I might enjoy, please let me know in the comments section!