What I’m Reading Wednesday

There are a lot of bloggers who do a regular  “What I Wore Wednesday” post where they post photos of their outfits for the week.  Sadly, I do not think anyone wants to see consecutive photos of me wearing gym clothes and a 3-day-old ponytail on a regular basis (seriously – Tuesday was the first time in over two weeks that I actually had to put on “real” clothes), so I’m doing “What I’m Reading Wednesday”, because that is one thing I am doing well lately.    Sometimes it takes me a long time to get from one book to the next and other times I read a bunch in quick succesion.  Every now and again I juggle two or three at the same time (which is hard, but happens when I can’t decide what kind of mood I’m in), which is what I’m doing now.  I just finished a couple of great books and I think I need time to breathe and get them out of my system before I delve into something new.

Most of the time I read via my Kindle Reader on my iPad mini, but lately that’s been hard as these days I’ve been spending a lot of time watching tennis or baseball or soccer in the sun, and the iPad doesn’t have glare reduction (is there some way to rectify that?)  Because of that, I picked up a couple of hard cover books at the thrift store and felt super old-fashioned in the process.  After reading electronically for so long, holding an ‘real’ book felt a little awkward.  I actually forgot about things like needing a bookmark because the book wouldn’t automatically open to where I left off.   I know…first world problems…

Anyway, based upon rave reviews from several friends, I picked this up in hardcover and figured that at the very least, it would be mindless, time-killing read that I wouldn’t have to invest myself heavily in.

I have never seen any of Chelsea Handler’s television shows and the main thing I know about her is that she’s besties with Reese Witherspoon, so perhaps that puts me at a disadvantage, but….a couple of chapters in I’m already asking myself, “This was a bestseller, WHY?”  This is supposed to be a memoir, but it’s clearly written in the most hyperbolized, highly-imagined, liberty-taken sense of the word, because there is absolutely no way that some of these stories are true as written.  Chelsea Handler is known for her blowsy, irreverent, alcohol-soaked personality, so I get what she’s trying to do here.  I don’t know why it bothers me, but her writing is so over the top that it might as well be fiction.  David Sedaris, for example, manages to make his memoirs witty and hysterical and ridiculous without such ludicrous effort, so I don’t get why she has to go so far overboard…unless that’s the point, in which case – well done.  I don’t know…it’s like reading a Rated R version of Judy Blume’s, “Otherwise Known As Sheila The Great.”  So far I’m not loving this book…thank God it only cost me $0.69.

I was in a reading rut when I happened upon Bookpage’s “Top 50 for 2012” list. I cut it out and pinned it to the cork board next to my desk for reading ideas.  This one came in at #7 and the reviews on GoodReads and Amazon were all positive, so I dove in.  The plot (a Native American boy tries to reveal the truth about his mother’s rape), sounded rather heavy, but as I got further into the book, I found that it was much more of a coming-of-age story than I’d anticipated.  The point of view was unique and I was surprised at how quickly I connected with the narration.  The Native American back-stories sometimes became a little confusing and tedious, but overall, I was happy I took a chance on this one.

I literally read this in less than two days.  It was an “easy” read from the wife of comedian Denis Leary.  I’ve never read any of her other books, but she’s a solid writer, and the pacing was efficient and crisp.  The story is told from the point of view of a middle-aged woman who may or may not be an alcoholic as she reflects on the lives and events of the small New England town she’s lived in all of her life.  Her writing reminds me a bit of Jodi Picoult or Kristin Hannah – reliable writing, believable characters and a compelling plot.  I’d recommend this as a beach read, for sure.

Lest you think I only read books with “House” in the title, here’s another one I devoured over the course of several days.   This is written in the vein of “Gone Girl”, with a single mother trying to unravel the mystery of her teen-aged daughter’s alleged suicide from the roof of her privileged private school.  The ending sort of ending with more of a whimper than a bang, but it was still satisfying.  If “Gone Girl’s” ending was like a punch in the gut, “Reconstructing Amelia’s” was more like a slap upside the head.  Very well written and hard to put down.

Ugh.  This book is really killing me.  It has received rave reviews from nearly every source I’ve checked, but hard as I try, I cannot get into it.  I hate when that happens.  I can’t put my finger on why, but this book has failed to catch (and keep) my interest.  I’ll be intrigued for a chapter or so, but then a few pages later I’m completely….”meh”….for lack of a better word.   It’s one of those books where I find myself having trouble keeping track of the characters, and I think that’s part of the problem.  I’m hoping that if I take a break from it, I’ll return and find myself with a renewed sense of interest, but it’s not looking good.  The same thing happened to me with “The Beautiful Ruins”.

I have a couple of sample chapters from a few books I’m interested in, but so far none of them have really grabbed me.  A friend of mine is rereading Steinbeck’s “East of Eden”, and I think I may follow suit.

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