I’ve discovered that “beach books” only taste good poolside. And since it’s too hot to actually lay outside for any length of time, I’ve chosen sofa over surfing and replaced my chick-lit guilty pleasures with slightly more dense reading…
Here’s a quick mash-up of fiction I’ve read and enjoyed recently but am always on the lookout for more!
My intention is to tackle a new book each week, offering a more in-depth review than this. Honestly, I have been known to buy a book because of the way it feels, or smells. I’ll try to be more discerning here but I’m learning that book reviews are tricky. Do you read them? Do you often buy a book based on a review (if so, who’s?) or do you use the same scratch and sniff approach I do?
A Complicated Kindness is everything pure and delightful and honest….This is not a new book, but it is one that should be read again. And again…and again.
“When you’re a Mennonite you can’t even yearn properly for the world because the world turns that yearning into comedy. It’s a funny premise for a movie, that’s all. Mennonite girl in New York City. Amish family goes to Soho. It’s terribly depressing to realize your innermost desires are being tested in Hollywood for laughs per minute.”
The Sentimentalist is an incredibly lyrical story and I’m so proud I had the privilege of having Johanna as my writing instructor this summer. In life, as in her books, she is thoughtful, precise and full of warm intentions. Here is an excerpt:
“That night, just before he fell into his trance, my father again read aloud my tenth grade poem, this time to Henry. I tried not to listen. And then, because that was impossible, I tried not to mind. Then, because that too proved impossible, I thought instead of that fragment of the poem my father had recited to us once, not long before: “Simplify me when I am dead.”
The Family Fang: I sent Kevin Wilson a fan letter, repeatedly calling his book by the wrong title (The Fang Family). And then when he graciously replied, careful not to correct me, I wrote him again, imposing on his kindness and essentially offering to him run his fan club. I’m still waiting for his reply. This was one of the quirkiest books I’ve read – ever – and I wish I could just make everybody else read it and love it the way I did.
“Mr and Mrs.Fang called it art. Their children called it mischief.”
In One Person: Sometimes when I meet a new person, I ask myself, would I rather be that person or marry that person? We all do this, no? Well, in the case of John Irving I am content just to read him. He writes so simply and clearly, a strength that I think masks just how complicated a man he really is. As much as I enjoy reading him (and I really really do!) I like the protection and distance that a book provides.
Excerpt: …I’ve read all your books and I know what you do—I mean, in your writing. You make all these sexual extremes seem normal—that is what you do. Like Gee, that girl, or whatever she is—or what she’s becoming. You create these characters who are so sexually ‘different,’ as you might call them—or ‘fucked up,’ which is what I would call them—and then you expect us to sympathize with them, or feel sorry for them, or something.
“Yes, that is more or less what I do,” I told him.