Second Quarter Book List

Here’s the books I read in April, May and June. I was hoping to read sixty something, but I got bogged down with wedding programs and a kid who all of a sudden won’t play by himself, ever.

Also, because no one asked, I find books to read in these ways:  blog recommendations, The New York Times Book Review which I subscribe to, ads in the New Yorker (these books are often terrible but the ads always suck me in), prize winners, new books by my favorite authors, classics I always felt like I should read, books my mother buys at the airport and then sends me, and books at Amazon that pop up when I add things to my wish list (these are also often horrible).  I haven’t signed up for Good Reads yet because the thought of figuring out something new right now makes me tired.

39. Driving Sideways. I have no memory of this.  I think it wasn’t very good? Kristabella tells me it’s awesome, so since I can’t remember it AT ALL, maybe I need to read it again before I further disparage it.

40.  Leaving Dirty Jersey – this was ok.  I decided after I read it that maybe books about being a drug addict aren’t for me.  I mean, basically, a drug addict lies, steals and acts like a d bag ALL THE TIME in order to get drugs. Reading about that behavior? It gets old really quickly.  The interesting part is mostly how the person quits being a drug addict, and that’s the part the author never seems to go into in any kind of depth.

41.  The Nature of Jade – This was the first thing I have read by Deb Caletti and I was underwhelmed.  The characters fell flat for me.

42.  Matrimony – I think I saw this in an ad in the New Yorker and liked the cover.  That or Amazon recommended it to me.  I really liked it though.  It was an easy read, entertaining, interesting.

43.  North of Beautiful – Meh.

44.  Waiting for Normal – There’s no reason on earth why I should like this book, it’s that same old tired “my mom sucks and leaves me all the time” plot, and yet I loved it. I totally cried at the end too.

45.  Tomorrow When the War Began – This is the first in a series. I reread it because I thought it was a different book.  It was ok, but not as great as I remembered, and I wish I could figure out the book I’m actually looking for…in the one I am thinking of, everyone on earth (or in America?) under a certain age dies, some time in the future.  The kids all band together and raid empty grocery stores and try to figure out what to do.  Anyone?

46.  The Girls Who Went Away – The stories of the women who gave up their kids or who were given up for adoption were really interesting, as was some of the history of what it was like to grow up in the fifties, but it became intensely repetitive very quickly.  Regardless, I’m glad I read it, even though it was crazy depressing.

47.  Suicide Blonde – Mr. E read this and said it was so bad I shouldn’t bother. And yet I am still counting it.  Shhhh.  Don’t tell.

48.  Maynard & Jennica – I really really liked it.  Jennica was a great character. I need to check it out again – there was a description of a breakfast that I want to try to make – I can’t get the thought of french toast covered in blackberry sauce and whipped cream out of my head.

49. 10 Cents a Dance – Interesting, but the whole “I’m so innocent and why does no one like me” thing got old after a while. Still, I’m glad I read it, I learned something new I knew nothing about, and it was a quick entertaining read.

50.  Perfect Chemistry – This book was terribly cheesy and so obvious right from the start and nothing more than one big old cliche and still, I loved it.  I was in the perfect mood to read a dippy YA romance and it was actually pretty well written. It wasn’t exactly memorable or award worthy or anything, but still, awesome.

51.  Red Leather Diary – Such an interesting idea (a writer finds an old diary in the dumpster outside her apartment and tracks down the author of the diary) but it was absolute poo.  Wretched writing, and the writer is SO FREAKING in love with herself.  Every twelve minutes she tells you how she’s a feature writer at the New York Times.  I can only hope she somehow does better work there, because GOOD LORD THIS BOOK STANK.

52.  Perfect Fifths – This is the fifth and final book in the Sloppy Firsts series.  Now, please note. Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings are two of my favorite books OF ALL TIME.  I’d take them with me to a desert island, no lie.  But the third and fourth installments were VERY disappointing to the point of being almost unreadable.  This was…not as bad as that.  And an ok end to the series, but overall, nothing and nowhere near as good as the first two books. I would recommend reading Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings and just pretending the series ends there.

53.  Forest of Hands and Teeth – Loved it! Although not as scary as I was hoping.  But still, a great adventurous fast and fun read.  Although still not as good as The Hunger Games, it was right up there for me.

54.  The Brother Torres – Boring. Had to make myself finish it.

55.  The Art of Racing in the Rain – um, I found out after I started reading it that this book is written from the perspective of the dog.  No. Just…no.

56.  Firefly Lane – Total lifetime movie of the week cheese.  Mentions Jessica Savitch every twelve minutes, which is obviously bad news.  And yet, I found it wildly entertaining, and I couldn’t put it down.

57.  Girls In Trucks – I think I picked this because I liked the cover? Regardless, I really really liked this book.  The southern deb thing was fascinating, and it was surprisingly well written and funny.

58.  Cutting For Stone – I wanted to like this. It was so well written. But it was just SO boring. I had to make myself read it.

59.  The Other Side of the Island – meh.  It didn’t do it for me.  Too boring and obvious and derivative of The Phantom Tollbooth.

60.  Voluntary Madness –  This was the book that made me decide I can’t read about crazy people in mental institutions.  It hits too close to home.  She kept talking about her meds failing after a certain amount of time and it just stressed me out.

61.  Beautiful Boy – A little self indulgent, and maybe not as introspective as it could be, but this book was really interesting and well written. It made me want to read some of Judith Warner’s stuff on divorce.  The son in the story, Nick, is devastated by his parents divorce and says, at one point, “I was always missing someone.”  This is SUCH a true statement of what it’s like to be the child of divorced parents.  It affects you profoundly. It made me think, a lot.

62.  If I Stay – I wanted to really like this, because Janssen loved it, but I don’t know. I didn’t hate it, but it just didn’t move me like I thought it would.

63.  Gang Leader For A Day – When I started reading this, it fascinated me.  All the stuff about sociology and the different attitudes that academia takes towards learning about poverty, race, and class was so interesting.  But ultimately this book just didn’t dig deep enough for me.  I much preferred “There Are No Children Here.” Just read that if you’re interested in this stuff.

64.  Cracked Up To Be – Oh, yeah, no.  This was one of those books with a HUGE ENDLESS plot build up – the main character did something SO BAD and she can never UNDO it and her life is SO meaningless now and blah blah blah, in the end the BIG HUGE DEAL wasn’t really anything too shocking and I  just sort of thought “that’s it?  Really?”.  Although now that I think about it, what happened was sort of a big deal, but I think it just wasn’t written correctly, or something. Meh for me though, for sure.

65.  The Hour I First Believed – Dudes.  This book was so so so so so so so so soooooo long.  And then everything bad that’s happened in the world in the last 20 years happened to the main character and I… I just don’t know.  This should have been two books, or three.  Or edited more, or something.  And the ending? Hrrrrm.

66.  Schuyler’s Monster – I really liked it.  I had some trepidation going into this because sometimes I don’t always see eye to eye with Rob, but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a great read, and I STILL to this day get goosebumps reading about how Schuyler got her Big Box of Words.

67.  I Know It’s Over – Weird, and kind of dirty for YAF, but I really really liked it.  The main character was really well written.

68.  Child of Mine – The internet wets its pants for this book about what to do to get your kid to eat. I was so ready for all of the magic answers on how to get Eli to eat! But then it was a weird combination of the totally obvious and stuff I don’t agree with.  Disappointing, for me at least.  And if one more person/book/doctor tells me not to feed my kid juice, I am going to LOSE MY MIND.  HE DOESN’T FREAKING DRINK JUICE!

69.  Service Included – As soon I finished this, I googled the French Laundry Cookbook AND the restaurant.  Turns out I can’t afford either, but I loved reading about them.  And some day I will eat there, you mark my words.  Although I did look up the famed salmon cornet on Flickr, and, uh, let’s just say it reminded me STRONGLY of something.  Or is it just me?  Anyone?

70.  New Moon – oh good lard just no.

71.  Lowboy – Urgh.  To me it felt like manic depression portrayed using a random string of nonsense.  Yuck.

72.  Secrets to Happiness – I really really really liked this book.  The main character, Holly, cracked me straight up. So funny I read parts out loud to Mr. E.

73.  Mexican White Boy – Way way way predictable.

74.  Her Last Death – Wow.  Now there’s a bad mom.  Totally fascinating, but also very bizarre.

I am still in the middle of Earth Abides (totally boring), Hard Laughter (I really don’t love Anne Lamott’s fiction, is this terrible of me?), The Ten Year Nap (meh, so far), and The Millionaires, which I just realized is one of those books that thinks it’s too good for quotation marks which I find SO INCREDIBLY ANNOYING it’s not even funny, so I might not finish that one.

But I am almost halfway to my goal of 150 books this year! Go me!

And now, if you’ll excuse me, this month’s copy of Dairy Foods Monthly just came in the mail, so I have to go read about cheese.

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17 Responses

  1. You didn’t like Driving Sideways? It was so good!

    I also am friends with the author, so I feel the need to defend the book (and her) because I really liked it. It was funny and a good story!

  2. you have to sign up for goodreads. NOW. If only because I need your recommendations delivered directly to my inbox on a regular basis.

    I don’t like Anne Lamott’s fiction either. And I’m mostly lukewarm on her more recent nonfiction, but I love Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird so much that I give her a lifetime pass.

  3. New Moon was awful, I agree!

    P.S. If you join Goodreads you can be my friend. 🙂

  4. Good grief. I’ve read… the last 2 Harry Potters and a forgettable YA novel. I’ve now started a Peter Wimsey mystery I’ve read 10 times before. Perhaps I should get a move on. In fact, I am going to the library right now, NO LIE.

  5. I love when you do book reviews! Also – HAHAHA on the flickr photo (!) and my kids don’t drink juice either!

  6. Feel the same way about Gang Leader for a Day.

  7. I just loved this wholllllllle post. Just ATE. IT. UP. The things you say are exactly what I want to know about a book.

    And you’re totally right about those salmon things. GEEZ! How does anyone eat one without everyone else at the table snorting?

  8. Ooh ooh! I read “Her Last Death” a while back and was totally riveted. So weird but you can’t put it down.

  9. oh. my. GAWD. the pictures of those fish things are quite possibly the most disturbing and disgusting images i’ve seen in quite awhile. EWWWW!

    love your book reviews – not necessarily because they gets me inspired to READ or anything (although, they do), but because they’re just so darn entertaining! my favorite line? “Child of Mine – The internet wets its pants for this book about what to do to get your kid to eat.” hee hee!

  10. I think you’re looking for “The Girl who Owned a City.” Although there are probably several books with that premise. This one is from the 80’s, I think, and it has a political agenda that I didn’t get as a kid. The main character is named Lisa, and everyone under 12is dies. Does that sound right?

    When I met my husband I told him that if the apocolypse came I was taking over the old VA hospital (in Seattle) for my fortress. (This book really affected me, obviously.) He married me anyway, despite the fact that I’m clearly a wackaloon.

  11. WOW. amazing.

    how. do. you. do. it?

    I barely read through the People magazine my mom brings by. I guess I spend too much of my time in front of the tube. Guess my escape is of the visual kind. 🙂

  12. You are TOTALLY right about Girls in Trucks. Loved it. I think you might like Smart Girls Like Me by Diane Vadino, as well.

    And please let me know if you give DS another whirl; I’m hoping for a better outcome next time! 🙂

    (Kristabella, thank you!)

  13. I just love your lists.

    SO glad you loved Perfect Chemistry too. It was the exact kind of cheesiness I needed.

  14. Yes. Please get on goodreads. PLEASE!

    Ditto on Anne Lamott, although I also didn’t readlly like Bird by Bird like I was hoping to. I think I read it too soon after Operating Instructions and it was felt redundant even though it is a diff topic.

  15. HAHA!! The salmon cornets picture is totally dirty!

    LOVE your book reviews.

  16. I LOVED Art of Racing in the Rain once I got past the whole dog thing (I also didn’t know it going into it) but it was a really beautiful story.
    I read Firefly Lane while on vacation and I loved it, though some of the pop culture references were very, very obvious, etc. But it made me think a lot about the friendships I had growing up and it was really nice to think about.

    And New Moon was a big disappointment for someone who really sorta liked the series (but hated the movie – oh, why on earth did they make that movie?)

    But that’s all I’ve read of your list. Which is surprising since I devour books like I eat chocolate. (Actually, more so. I’ve cut back on my chocolate intake lately)

    I also read My Sister’s Keeper on vacation and if you haven’t, you should. Great story. Have you read the YA Gemma Doyle trilogy? there’s another interesting read. a little weird, but catchy.

    Love your reviews. I’ve added a bunch of them to my wishlist on amazon. Thanks.

  17. Just finished New Moon at the gym this morning…sigh. Well, I’m in deep now, two down, two to go. I have to do it, though all the “my poor heart shattered into, like, a million billion pieces, and like OMG Edward’s icy granite chest was so rock hard, I wonder what his you-know-what feels like, but we can’t have THAT, NOOOOOO, because this is supposed to be wholesome young adult fiction, and instead it sounds like every bad diary entry written by every eighth-grade girl EVAR…” style of writing is really getting on my nerves. I mean, how many goddamn times do I have to hear about Edward’s icy lips or limpid dark eyes or kisses that only “brush the tip” of Bella’s nose or some shit? Y’all are teenagers, just fuck already! Sigh. I know, I know…the tension is what keeps it going (sort of). Is there a…more “adult” alternative out there? You know, something where the heroine and the sexy vampire actually do more than hold hands and peck each other one the damn cheek and gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes?

    Well, like I said, I’m trapped now. Can’t abandon it halfway through the series.

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