Thursday, June 03, 2010

Some Books I Read Recently!

My pal Pam emailed to ask me for some fresh reads. And I have continued to read stuff and NOT blog them. What am I thinking of??? Also, Saturday is SATs day and I will have a whole new pile on my desk. So I bring you the reads of the spring!

The Grift by Debra Ginsberg is about a girl who works as a psychic but has no psychic powers. Or DOES she? I didn't need to be psychic to see some of the "twists" in this book, but Ginsberg is a good writer and I did enjoy the ride.

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfield
was a fantastic read! It is a thinly veiled roman a clef about Laura Bush. I really loved this book. I was expecting to be titillated and amused, but I was really touched by the story.

My Enemy’s Cradle by Sara Young was a fascinating look at the Lebensborn program in Nazi Germany. A Dutch girl, pregnant by her Jewish boyfriend ends up in a home for unwed Jungfrau having babies for the fuhrer. It was a nail biter!

Karma For Beginners by Jessica Blank
is the story of a girl in the '80s whose mom keeps dragging her from bad boyfriend to bad boyfriend. They end up in an ashram in the Catskills where she finds a place for herself. I put it to the side three quarters of the way through and it occurs to me that I didn't finish it! Better go dig it up again.

Lonely Heart’s Club by Elizabeth Eulberg was so much better than I thought it would be! It is the story of Penny Lane Bloom (I know, but her parents were obsessed with the Beatles) and how the club she creates of girls who have sworn off boys threatens the status quo of her high school. Standard girl power fantasy with a lot of cute music references and strong writing.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan freaked me the hell out! This is a zombie book, a genre that I usually ignore like a whining teenager, but I accidentally started it and couldn't put it down! So creepy, so good. The sequel, The Dead Tossed Waves, was something of a disappointment to me, but the person who recommended it to me in the first place liked it more than the first! She may be more of a zombie-girl than I am.

Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski was a great concept and deftly written. Brokenhearted at 18 Devi accidentally drops her cell phone in a wishing well and that causes it to only dial one number - her 14 year old self who might be able to undo all the mistakes Deva feels she has made.

The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman is not at all for family viewing, but is an interesting (and funny) look at how Silverman became the comic she is today.

Three Junes by Julia Glass
was written for grown-ups, but has themes that anyone could relate to. Three interconnecting stories deal with a widower on a trip to Greece, his expat gay son in New York and the woman who befriends them both. Just a lovely book.

Nurtureshock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
presents the differences between parenting instinct and child development research. Fascinating stuff that made me retire the phrase, "Good job!" forever.

My Invisible Boyfriend by Susie Day
is an English YA novel about a girl at a boarding school who invents a long distance romance to keep up with her paired-up friends. It was loaded with British-isms and practically begs for a sequel.

Savvy by Ingrid Law is the story of Mibs, who on her 13th birthday will receive her "savvy" - a strange power. Her oldest brother manipulates electricity, her middle brother causes storms when he is upset. When her father is in a serious accident just before the big day, Mibs hopes that her savvy will be able to help him recover.

A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper has been compared to one of my all time favorites - I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith - and it is not quite that good. But this story of a young girl growing up on an isolated island kingdom just before World War Two is a suspenseful and marvelously detailed story.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
was a beautiful book about a reticent English gentleman who falls in love with the widow of the Pakistani grocer in his small town as he is trying to keep his money-grubbing relatives from selling a precious family heirloom.

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake tells the parallel stories of a female war correspondent in Europe, the young wife of an American doctor who has gone to help victims of the Blitz and the postmistress in a sleepy Cape Cod town who holds a devastating secret as America edges closer to war.

And these three are the big summer reads I am most looking forward to:

Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, wherein CeeCee has to face the consequences of a rash decision she made years ago to raise the daughter of a murdered girl.

The Irresistable Henry House by Lisa Grunwald is the story of Henry who was a "practice baby" at a women's college just after WWII and went on to find himself in the center of the zeitgeist of the second half of the 20th century.

The Passage by Justin Cronin is the talk of the book world this summer. A cross between Stephen King's The Stand (one of my all time favorites) and Cormac McCarthy's The Road (I made it 10 pages before I had to put it down and take deep calming breaths) this doorstop of a book chronicles the carnage that occurs when a government plan to create super soldiers goes horribly, horribly wrong. If you hear screaming in the night, it is probably me ruing the day I got hooked on this one.

Happy reading!

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