Book Twentyfive: The Old Man and Me

The Old Man and Me, Elaine Dundy

And then the follow-up to The Dud Avocado! I had one of those holy-mother-of-god-is-this-what-I-think-it-is moments when I saw this book on the shelf at the bookstore. And of course it had to be my most favorite publisher of all, NYRB Classics, to dust this one off and reprint it. Oh happy joy!

I loved this book only slightly less than I loved The Dud Avocado, but that isn't saying that I didn't like it. In fact, I like it very much. There are some similarities to The Dud Avocado: a slightly off-kilter heroine, an American girl in a foreign city (this time London), an ill-advised lover, a collection of preposterous yet such vividly written characters that you can't help but believe they exist. And there are some differences: a definitively darker plot, a more ambitious and driven heroine, a different decade (this one takes place in the 60s), and a dirtier, grimier, less glamorous city. But still there is Ms. Dundy's wit and silliness and deftness with quick-fire dialogue and lovely (and sometimes cutting) little observances of human character.

Book Twentyfour: The Dud Avocado

The Dud Avocado, Elaine Dundy

I have mentioned this book enough times here, so it seems appropriate that I am actually finally including it in my read list. But I did re-read it, as it was chosen for one of my book clubs. I'm not going to pretend that I wasn't a little hurt that most of my book-clubbers either didn't read it or didn't finish it, and the few who did didn't really like it all that much. Because honestly, we all know that they are bat-shit crazy for not loving this book as much as I do.

I mean, how can one not love a book about a young woman, our heroine, Sally Jay Gorce, who is spending a year in Paris (in the 50s) with the intention of simply living life to its fullest? Of course, she is naive and slightly self-centered (as most 21-year-olds are) and this combination gets her into a bit of trouble. But this book had me from the start, which finds Miss Gorce roaming the streets of Montparnasse at 11am in an evening gown because the rest of her clothes are at the laundry. And what follows is a slightly rambling adventure, one where the plot is not quite obvious from the start, where you follow her on her misguided quests and meet her ill-advised lovers and get caught up in some silliness and some seriousness, but all done with a huge amount of wit and humor and brilliant writing.

Book Twentythree: Zombies Calling

Zombies Calling, Faith Erin Hicks

The most thoughtful birthday present from C, who knows how much I like both comics and zombies. This was a sweet little diversion and a nice reminder that summertime is best spent reading light and silly books. Essentially, the story here is about Joss, a Canadian college student who is more frightened by her student loan debt than she is by zombies. And then a zombie outbreak occurs at her university and she puts to use all her zombie movie knowledge in order to survive the attack. I love this style of drawing and the story was cute, if not a little simplistic.

Book Twentytwo: The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread

The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread, Don Robertson

Last night I was so tired. It was late and I knew I had to be up early, but when I got into bed--fully intending to only read for a few minutes before falling asleep--I couldn't put this book down and get to sleep. I was nearing the end of the book, with perhaps about 50 pages left, and all the tension that was building towards the thing that you knew was going to happen finally broke and that thing finally did happen and the book took off in this amazing cascade of events and people and thoughts and scenes.

So needless to say today I am very tired, but happy I got to finally finish this beautifully written, sweet, simple (or is it complex? oh boy, i'm not sure) novel. Which, until it was chosen for my bookclub, I had never heard of before. Have you?