Book Nine: The 19th Wife

The 19th Wife, David Ebershoff

What are the chances of reading two Wife books in a row? Also on my reading pile is The Zookeeper's Wife, and I wish I could say that The Time Traveler's Wife was also there, but I'd be lying. But really, if you are as obsessed with Mormons as I am, you will find this very, very interesting. It's half modern-day polygamist murder mystery, half pretending-to-be-non-fiction "biography" of Ann Eliza Young, Brigham Young's 19th wife who became a vocal opponent to polygamy and helped bring about it's downfall: these two stories bounce back and forth throughout the novel. I don't want to say any more than that about the plot (and really, when do I ever?), but honestly, this book rules. It almost falls apart at the end with a somewhat too tidy finale, but the rest of the book more than made up for that.

Book Eight: American Wife

American Wife, Curtis Sittenfeld

I love the idea behind this book: a completely fictionalized novel based on the life of Laura Bush. And Curtis Sittenfeld is such a brilliant writer, that everything about this worked. At one point I thought, "Oh shit, I am actually kind of liking the character of George Bush. Crap." And the book has an amazing punch line of an ending. It's worth it to read for more than that reason, though. Just the way she strings words together is lovely and more than enough reason to spend 500+ pages on the thoughts of a fictional first lady.

Book Seven: Watership Down

Watership Down, Richard Adams

I hereby re-dub this book Watership Downer.

My recommendation to you is to not read this book after a good friend passes away. You will probably be too preoccupied with the futility of life to appreciate this book, and will want to tell these little rabbits to just give it up already, you're just going to die, what's it all worth, anyhow? You will want to read the book, but will be so sad that when you pick up the book you will just put it down again. You will love this book, but will wish you had chosen a better, happier time to choose to read it. And even when you reach the end of the book, after you feel like you've processed everything and are starting to feel better, reading the last two pages will hit you in a way you didn't know was possible and will make you sob like a baby.

I hate to be so grim, but this was tough for me. It is probably both a good and a bad thing that Watership Down will always remind me of my friend Rickey.