Tuesday, April 14, 2015

march books

Apparently March was the month of memoirs for me - truth is definitely stranger, and often more entertaining, than fiction. And, I was on the waiting list at the library for several of these and as we all know, when it's your turn, you read the book, even if you aren't quite in the mood for it. I prefaced all of the audiobooks with an (A) since I think that medium really affects my reaction to a book. Since sitting in the car is a passive activity, I feel like I stick with them a bit longer than print books.

(A) Monday's Lie - The unfortunate thing about this book is that its biggest plot twist is revealed in the book's summary. I had forgotten the details of the summary, got a little bored with the book itself, read the summary again, and felt like it was spoiled for me the rest of the way through. The premise is interesting enough - a woman whose mother was some kind of spy relies on all the tricks her mother taught her to figure out what her husband is hiding - but when you know what the husband is hiding, the book seems unreasonably long. I also found the end pretty anticlimactic. This one gets 3.5 stars from me.

Beautiful Boy - This is a father's memoir about his son's meth addiction. It's an interesting perspective combined with the science behind what addiction, and specifically the chemicals in meth, do to the brain. It got a little bogged down in technical info for me at times, but I found the author's explanation of his denial of the severity of his son's addiction and the way he treated his son throughout the ordeal to be something I learned a lot from. The son wrote a book of his own, which I plan to read soon.

(A) My Story (by Elizabeth Smart) - I'm really torn on this one. While Smart undoubtedly went through a horrific ordeal, and no one could blame her for not wanting to dredge up the past, let alone publish a book about it and narrate the audiobook, one would hope that if she made those choices, the book would be riveting, deep, and interesting. Sadly, it was not. I'm not sure if it was Smart's understandable desire for privacy, her modesty, or a psychological disconnect from the events that made the book feel a little flat. I mean, I'm not sure what I wanted - I'm definitely happy that there were no detailed accounts of the abuse she endured - but several times throughout the book, she said "words couldn't describe" or "I can't begin to tell you" and while I'm sure those feelings were true, they weren't very satisfying for me as a reader. She's undoubtedly a strong woman, though, and the book makes you wonder how your 14-year-old self would have acted in the same situation.

(A) Stories I Only Tell My Friends (by Rob Lowe) - This too was an audiobook read by the author, which I think made it more enjoyable. I know Rob Lowe as Number Two, Chris Traeger, and the senator on Brothers and Sisters, so I forget that he had a long Hollywood history before that and arguably the first celebrity sex tape. He grew up with the Sheen and Penn (as in Sean) families and dated Cary Grant's daughter while still in high school, so he had lots of great stories to tell. Some of his anecdotes seem unbelievable, or at least embellished, but I choose to believe them all. It was light and entertaining and now I want to marathon all his 80s movies.

Not That Kind of Girl (by Lena Dunham) - I want to "you go, girl" Lena Dunham for being body confident and a female in charge, but can I do that while I admit that I didn't care for her memoir at all? I'm definitely on the modest end of the spectrum, but the section on sex was way TMI.

(A) Room - A story about a woman kidnapped and held hostage for seven years, as told from the POV of her five year old son, who was born in captivity and knows nothing of life outside the Room that makes up their world. It was read by someone who sounded like a five year old boy. That was a little annoying at times, but I think that reading the book and dealing with the capitalization of the things they personified would have been even more annoying. I found the story really interesting and I listened to it every chance I got, but I can definitely see how it might not be for everyone.

The Rosie Project - How can you not like this narrator? I especially liked the mention of As Good As It Gets because my husband and his family quotes that movie so much I didn't realize the things they were repeating were quotes. It was an easy read, very predictable, but also cute. A good beach/plane/before bed novel but not life changing. That said, you better believe I immediately put myself on the waiting list for the sequel.

Nothing is grabbing my attention right now, so I've been anxiously awaiting this link-up. I finally started Jim Gaffigan's Food: A Love Story which I got for Christmas and has just been sitting there. Part of it comes across as a stand-up punchline and at least one story so far was in his most recent comedy special, but other parts are funny and relatable as someone who loves food arguably a little too much. I tried to read my first Neil Gaiman book but I found it so boring (The Ocean at the End of the Lane) that I quit about 1/3 of the way through. It's finally my turn at the library for The Happiness Project, but now that I open it, I'm feeling blah. I need something to get excited about again!

Linking up with Steph and Jana...

Life According to Steph

15 comments:

  1. Oh man, I really liked Room! I read it in print form... I can see how the unnecessary capitalization might irritate some (it's usually one my pet peeves), but I thought it was important to the story in that it shows how limited the kid's life is.

    You're kind of making me want to read it again :)

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  2. I adored The Rosie Project.

    Regarding Elizabeth Smart, I feel like if you go through that, you are in absolutely no way required to talk about it, ever. But if you write a book about it...you sort of are. Do you need to give all the details? No. But you need to give some to ground your readers and anchor them to where you were.

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  3. I loved The Rosie Project too but I confess I checked out The Rosie Effect and put it down just as quickly, I didn't even review it on my blog. The character voices were different or something, the part I read felt forced and the plot was vague.

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  4. I read Beautiful Boy and his son's tie in book. I liked both but thought the first hand perspective was more interesting. I think he has a second book out now too.

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  5. Beautiful Boy was so hard to read at times, but I really enjoyed it too. I forgot that his son had also written a book until just now- I'll have to look into it! I'm really intrigued by Room- the cover always stands out to me, but I haven't heard very much about it.

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  6. The Beautiful Boy sounds interesting, I'm even more intrigued that the son has a book with the other perspective. A Room sounds interesting too, but I do not think I could have listened to full book that sounded like a 5-year old narrated...so maybe the print version for me :) For Monday's Lie it wasn't the plot that got me to like that book, it was the way it was written. I thought the plot itself was only ok, and agree the ending was anti-climatic. You have to try NeverWhere or The Anansi Boys for Gaiman.

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  7. Okay I haven't read the Elizabeth Smart one because I am afraid to. I don't know why. I read room a few years ago and felt the same way as you. It was a good story and interesting but I didn't love the kid talk at times! But I think it's the only way I could've handled the story. Probably too creepy from anyone else's perspective.

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  8. Room was excellent! Disturbing and well written and just enough drawn on reality. I loved The Rosie Project, too.

    I think I'd like Beautiful Boy. Also Rob Lowe's book. I like a good celebrity memoir. I don't think I'll read Lena Dunham's book. I don't care about her. She bothers me for reasons I can't explain.

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  9. Room sounds interesting, but hearing it from the POV of a kid would be different. I have The Rosie Project on my to read list, it seems like everyone who has read it has enjoyed it.

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  10. I really liked the Rosie Project too. So quirky, and fun. I have Rob Lowe's book on my list already, love him but more so from the 80's, St. Elmo's fire. So good. I would read Lena's book though I don't really watch anything she has been in so I don't have an overall opinion of her.

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  11. I've got Tweak on my "to read" list already. I wonder if I should read it first, or if I should read Beautiful Boy first. I like that there are two books to get the perspective from addict to loved one of addict. I thought Room was pretty fascinating.

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  12. I really enjoyed Food: A Love Story! I chuckled throughout. The Room sounds intriguing in a dark way.

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  13. I feel the same way about Lena Dunham (love her!) and her book (didn't love it), and I'm not even on the modest side of things. It just seemed like she wrote for shock value and it irritated me. I loved Rob Lowe's book! I've had Room on my list for years and need to start reading it already!

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  14. I wanted to read Lena Dunham's book but I've heard nothing but "meh"/bad things about it. Boooo! :(

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  15. I'm definitely in the minority when it comes to not loving Lena Dunham. I respect her messages its all too vulgar for me. I definitely wasn't going to read the book!

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