Book Thirtyfive: The Lost Art of Gratitude

The Lost Art of Gratitude, Alexander McCall Smith

I bet it's fun, as an author, to push your own agenda through characters in your novels. And having readers like me eat it up.

Isabel thought about this. It was just too easy to say that adults did not like stories that were simple, and perhaps that was wrong. Perhaps that was what adults really wanted, searched for and rarely found: a simple story in which good triumphs against cynicism and despair. That was what she wanted, but she was aware of the fact that one did not publicise the fact too widely, certainly not in sophisticated circles. Such circles wanted complexity, dysfunction and irony: there was no room for joy, celebration or pathos. But what was the fun in that?

Sigh. I have nothing more to say about Isabel Dalhousie. I just love her so.

Book Thirtyfour: Carrie

Carrie, Stephen King

When discussing this book club pick with a neighbor, she told us how, when she was mentioning to her daughter that she was reading Carrie for book club, her daughter said, "You know mom, that's just a book about bullying."

Which is so true. And when you look at it like that, it makes it even more frightening.

Book Thirtythree: Love and Rockets: New Stories #2

Love and Rockets: New Stories #2, Los Bros Hernandez

I don't recommend reading this while very, very sleepy. No, wait, maybe that is exactly what I recommend. The surreal feeling with much of the Hernandez brothers' work is made even stranger by being in that weird dreamy state. And, honestly, I loved it. There is one long Jaime story, divided into two parts, about Penny Century, the Ti-Girls, Angel, Maggie, and others, which to me was surprisingly strange and wonderful. And between these two parts are two Beto stories that, as usual, involve weird, dream-like sequences and large-chested women. Obviously.

The only problem with these annual editions of Love and Rockets is that they are over so quickly. Boo!

And yay!

Book Thirtytwo: The Likeness

The Likeness, Tana French

This is what you end up reading when you are stuck on a vacation with a book you absolutely can't stand, and you need to find something in the airport book store before your flight. And, whew! I am so glad this didn't turn out to be the stinker that was Tana French's first book, a book which I may or may not have hurled across the room in anger at the end. Seriously, if this one hadn't been good, it would have been entirely my fault for going back for more. But, fortunately, it was a good read with a good story and good writing. I've read in some places that other people also think that the book feels slightly similar in tone and character to one of my favorites, The Secret History, but I don't want to say much more than that. Not because it gives anything away, but just because I don't want to ruin the surprise. Well, not a surprise, just all the good weird shit that happens.

Book Thirtyone: The Convenient Marriage

The Convenient Marriage, Georgette Heyer

I should really just fill my summers with Georgette Heyer and nothing else. Okay, I'd make some room for Twilight. But that's about it. I want nothing to occupy my breezy, lazy summer afternoons but sweet, simple Regency romances like this.

Though, really, this one is not that simple. At the novel's start, our heroine, Horatia Winwood (who everyone calls Horry... Horry!), decides to throw herself under the bus, excuse me, throw herself under the chaise, for her sister's sake and marry the Earl of Rule. See, the Earl wants to marry Horry's older sister Lizzie, but Lizzie is in love with Mr. Heron, and the Earl really only wants to marry any Winwood, it doesn't matter who. Anyhoo, 50 pages in, and there's already a wedding between our lovely couple, so what else needs to happen, right?

Well, it's clear that they don't really love each other, it's just a marriage of convenience. Ha, it all makes sense now, no? The Earl has a lady on the side, and Horry doesn't care what he does so long as she can spend all her evenings gambling. That's right, gambling. You won't find this plot twist in a Jane Austen novel. I won't give the rest away, I'll just say that there are some surprises amidst some expected resolutions.

And two more things you should know about Horry: she has thick dark eyebrows (that everyone has to comment on repeatedly) and a horrible, horrible, s-s-s-stutter.

I swear, I couldn't make this stuff up if I wanted to.

Book Thirty: Heartsick

Heartsick, Chelsea Cain

Now that summer is drawing to a close I am finally getting in some good summer reading. I had been meaning to read this one for a while (ever since I heard Chelsea Cain on NPR's Crime in the City series), but to be honest never wanted to buy the mass market paperback. Something about mass market paperbacks gives me the willies. Even just writing the words "mass market paperback" makes my stomach turn so I think this will be the last time I write mass market paperback. Ok. Done. Anyhows, I saw this on the shelf at the downtown library, picked it up, and sat down and read the first 100 pages right there in the library living room. So good. I'm not big on serial killers or gore or gratuitous torture, and even though this book had all those things in freaking spades, it still got me. In fact I finished it in just over 24 hours. Too good to put down. And look, two sequels!