Sunday, January 20, 2008

Book Beat: Three Titles

Here are some recent reads you may enjoy.

1. The Flawless Skin of Ugly People by Doug Crandell: This book is a fast but definitely not mindless read. There are some tough moments in the book, but ultimately it is a beautiful story that left me feeling hopeful. To quote Tom Perrotta's blurb on the cover, it is: "A strange, tender novel about love and shame and the multitude of ways in which people come to care for one another." I think it would be an ideal book club selection as it is an easy and quick read with plenty to discuss: spirituality, abuse, shame, secrets, love, marriage, acne, suburban anonymity, what defines a family, and much more.

2. Getting Rid of Matthew by Jane Fallon: This book is set in London, always a bonus for me. It has some amusing and witty moments and more to grapple with than its chick-lit-ish premise would suggest. It's the story of Helen who decides, once her lover finally leaves his wife for her, that she no longer wants him. Her attempts to get rid of Matthew while at the same time befriending his wife make for enjoyable reading. I listened to this on my ipod, but I don't think it's the kind of book that can only be enjoyed as an audiobook.

3. Housekeeping vs. the Dirt by Nick Hornby
: Nick Hornby writes (or wrote? I don't know for sure what the status is) a book review column for a magazine called The Believer. This book is a collection of these columns. I love Hornby's sense of humor and love to read about possible titles to add to my "want to read" list so this book was ideal for me. What I enjoyed most was Hornby's introduction. He does a great job of talking about books and reading habits in a way that is not at all elitist. He stresses that some people are so hung up on what they "should read," that they don't read, don't read enough, or don't read books they actually enjoy.

What are you reading?


M said...

I obviously do not read enough because I was unfamiliar with all three of the books. I am going with three books at the moment, Sacred Contracts, and two of the most recent Wayne Dyer books.

E... said...

On the topic of elitism or anti-elitism, I just started the Danielle Steel book I got from Ellie for Christmas -- I hadn't read one since high school. Certainly not on my "should read" list, and I'm trying hard to give it a chance. I also just finished The Rest of Her Life by Laura Moriarty -- an interesting, not always likeable protagonist and a difficult situation, but made me wonder if Moriarty is going to attempt a Jodi Picoult career. Not a bad thing, just not the way I thought she was going.

Actchy said...

I am spending my free time with Straight Man by Richard Russo, per the suggestion you gave me when I had a bookstore emergency a days after Christmas. It's *hilarious* and I am totally enamored of the main character. I find myself comparing him to Rabbit of the Updike series, and then rolling my eyes at myself for my apparent fascination with fiction that explores the near-midlife-crisis upper-middle-class suburban man. Regardless, it’s fun to have something that repeatedly makes me laugh out loud.

LAP said...

Currenty reading my stack of 5 magazines waiting for me when I got home from vacation and will read the paper tomorrow morning.

Basically, I will read just about anything that gets sent to my house, but for some reason I am unable to procure my own reading material from the outside world. MEP, perhaps the next time I see you, you could just place a book in my hand? Maybe slap my mailing address on there too?

msp said...

thanks to your recommendation, i am currently reading "under the banner of heaven" and it completely disturbs me, but i love it. and i rarely read non-fiction, so i am quite proud of myself. feeling smart and everything.

before that i actually stopped reading a book about a hundred pages in--which i almost never do--it's like leaving a movie theater early--who does that? do you do that?--anyway, very disappointing. it was a janet fitch book (i was a huge fan of white oleander a long time ago), but this one left me feeling nothing for the main character.

anyway--i'm excited for your nick hornby recommendation--i've read (and loved) a bunch of his books, but didn't know about the columns! thanks!

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