Thursday, November 10, 2011

Recent Reads

I am trying to make this here blog'o mine more of a chronicle of my days. That definitely includes reading. I say this as a disclaimer to those who maybe have absolutely no interest in what I read!!!! If you're in that category, please move right along to the next blog!

Kindling right along...some of the books I've been reading...

The authorized biography of Steve Jobs is a fascinating look at the perfectionist/genius who was not a very nice person to be around. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the early days of Apple Computer (now called just Apple) as I have been a longtime fan of Apple products. But I was disappointed to learn how he treated people in his life--friends, coworkers, business associates, business rivals--even family members. Having been given away for adoption as an infant seemed to cast a sadness or longing over his early years. He did later unite with some birth family members--never his biological dad. His eating obsessions were interesting as were his hippie background and spiritual searches. An insightful look into what made the man tick.

The biological sister that Jobs discovered turned out to be Mona Simpson, a talented author and success in her own right. Talent must have just run in that family! Of course, I had to read one of her books. Anywhere But Here was Simpson's fictional novel seemingly based on her own mother's irresponsible rearing of her. It followed their life from Wisconsin to LA and the half-hearted attempt to get the daughter into show biz. It was quite a ride.

One of my favorite books from last year was Winter's Bone, a novel set in the Missouri Ozarks, rife with a mystery killing, meth users and a strong teenaged heroine who needs to discover what happened to her dad--while helping to raise her younger siblings. When I saw this book, The Outlaw Album, by the same author and set again in the Ozarks, well, I had to read it too. It is a series of short stories about people who do absolutely horrible things--but as always, there are two sides to every story. The stories really make one stop and think and consider people's choices in life, no matter how evil they may seem on the surface.

On a whim, I decided to download The Mill River Recluse, a book that had become a bestseller on Kindle. It was very different. The heroine is an elderly lady who is dying from cancer and the story relates her tragic life that led to her becoming a recluse. She became quite wealthy and secretly used her money to help the townspeople who had stories of their own.

I love novels that have a food element. A Homemade Life was a dandy! Molly Wizenberg recounts her life with family and food and how she decided to quit graduate school and go to Paris. It turned out that I had been reading her blog, Orangette, for a while and had not put two and two together!!!

Change of pace...two J. A. Jance mystery novels featuring J. P. Beaumont. Always good for some laughs and some thrills and some plot twists!

The Kite Runner was one of those highly acclaimed novels from a few years back that I never got around to reading. Thanks to Amazon's vast library of books for Kindle, it is easy to go back and catch up with some great books I missed first time around! I can see why The Kite Runner spent over five years on the NY Times bestseller list. It was a wonderful look at a culture I knew nothing about--Afghanistan at the time of the Soviet invasion. It is about two boys growing up in Kabul in the same house but with very different experiences. It is about love and friendship and betrayal and hope. Khaled Hosseini painted a very beautiful but stark picture.

Currently I am absorbed in John Grisham's newest legal romp, The Litigators. I have read a ton of Grisham's books and have found that he can usually keep me rapt. He did go through a period for a while where he got so bogged down with tangential information in his novels that I gave up on him for a while. Happily--I returned and am so glad I did. This book seems lighter and faster-paced. A burned-out lawyer joins a small ambulancing chasing, hospital haunting two-man team of injury case attorneys. The change of pace and lowering of salary leads to some interesting, tragic and comic experiences. Can't wait to finish it!


Anonymous said...

I am always looking for interesting reading material so keep telling us what you have enjoyed. I not only read but listen to audiobooks as I quilt...the best of all worlds.

Theresa W

Teresa said...

Thanks for all the books on your list. I did not konw that Grisham had a new book out - will be next on my list. I had not heard of JA Lance but will check those books out as well. Do they run in sequence? I guess I need to check out the website and find out what the first one is if that is the case.

Hillbilly Tonya said...

Thank you for these reviews. I am so happy to have stumbled upon your blog. I really want to read the two by the Ozark author and the one about Afghanistan. I am going to have to spend some time on your blog and look up older reviews.

Mary said...

Who doesn't love reading?!

The Kite Runner was good but I like this one even better -- disturbing but very good.

I've read JA Jance but not this series, I'll have to check it out.