Read-a-Thon Wrap-Up and Mini-Reviews for Books Thirteen to Eighteen

Well, I made it nearly 19 hours before completely pooping out. Just being in bed lulled me to sleep pretty quickly, but I don't regret it. I had a great Read-a-Thon and feel good about my 18+ hours of reading (and eating and napping). I imagine with a child entering this family in the next couple of months I won't have that kind of leisure time for many, many years. So it was a last hurrah, of sorts.

A Gate at the Stairs, Lorrie Moore

A young college student takes a job as a nanny to an unsettling couple who are adopting a biracial toddler. That's pretty much the plot here, despite the fact that some weird shit goes down in this book. This is filled with classic Lorrie Moore stuff: self-deprecating characters, sarcasm, wit, clippy dialogue, and the most devastating of human tragedies. Given that it has been years and years since I've read Lorrie Moore, I ate this up. Highly recommended.

The Other Side of the Island, Allegra Goodman

I've always known Allegra Goodman as a fantastic adult novelist and short story writer, so I was tickled to discover this book amongst the YA fiction. It's just another post-apocalyptic tale with a teenage heroine, this time the world seems to have been devastated by global warming and the only inhabitable areas of islands created from what remained from the sinking of the continents (I'm guessing at this since it wasn't explicitly described in the book). The world is ruled by the Earth Mother Corporation and islands have been enclosed so that weather can be controlled, and the everything stinks of fascism gone very, very wrong. It's not that this wasn't a horrible book, but I kept thinking, "Allegra Goodman is a much better writer than this." And the climax felt way too rushed and obvious. Not a bad read (in fact, a good Read-a-Thon read) but not great either.

Betsy-Tacy, Maud Hart Lovelace

Just another one of those classics I never read as a little girl. And I'm sure I would have loved it. This book is nothing but sweetness and love. And sugar and spice. You get the idea. Nothing really happens, aside from Betsy and Tacy becoming best friends and having little adventures around town and being super adorable and just the kind of daughter I want to have. I'll keep this to read to my daughter and pass down to her.

Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, Patton Oswalt

Is this as funny as Patton Oswalt's stand up? Nope. But is it still funnier than 99% of humor books? Absolutely. There's lots of random essays inside, from true (I hope) stories about family and childhood and being a young stand-up comic, to plain silliness including a comic about vampires, greeting cards, and a D&D poem. I totally heart you, Patton.

Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris, Paul Gallico

Mrs. Harris (pronounced 'Arris) is a London charwoman who one day sets her heart on owning her own Christian Dior gown. So, naturally, she gambles and saves her precious money for several years in order to save up enough to travel to Paris to buy herself a gown. It's a simple story, but honestly, really sweet. Everyone Mrs. 'Arris encounters on her journey can't help but be touched by her and she seems to spread her natural good cheer everywhere she goes. There are lovely little illustrations speckled throughout this original edition I was reading, and even though you can guess that she probably gets her dress in the end, you'll still be surprised at the outcome.

Bossypants, Tina Fey

I'll just admit that Tina Fey is my hero, so she can't really do any wrong in my eyes. This book is everything she is: funny, charming, silly, gross... perfect. There are some lovely personal stories and a lot of frankness about how she got where she is. I loved seeing behind the scenes on 30 Rock, one of my favorite shows. And hey, this is the first e-book I've ever read! The experience was pretty ok (easy to hold, light, convenient) but I'm not sure I'll switch permanently. I found I was reading much, much slower on the iPad than my pace with regular books, even though the pages seemed the same length. And and iPad doesn't smell nearly as good as a nice, worn-in paperback.


Blogger bellcurves said...

Sound like you had fun w/ the read-a-thon. Good for you! I can't wait to read Bossypants. As if I need any reason to love her even more! Alas, I'm in a long library holds queue for that book. I sure wish she'd make an appearance in Charlottesville or that UVA would invite her back to be their commencement speaker. I loved this:

April 21, 2011 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger ButtonMad said...

wow thats a lot of reading and reviewing. thanks for these too. will have to pick one or two up next time i hit the bookstore ;-)

May 6, 2011 at 2:14 AM  

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