Thursday, May 14, 2009

Read Any Good Books Lately?

So if you know me at ALL, you know that I am the world's worst bookworm. It all started around age 4, when my mom bought me one of those Leapfrog Tag pen precursors. It was this giant machine that you loaded the books into, and then used a special pen to help you learn to read the words. I was obsessed. In first grade, I read my first novel. I am not even joking. It was about a tree that grew teddy bears. Also, one about a plant that ate dirty socks. Oh yeah, I also remember every book I've ever read. In grade 7 and 8, I confess, I was on the Battle of the Books TEAM. It was a game where you read something like 25 books, and then competed against other teams to answer questions about those books in a game show type setting. We had a buzzer and matching sweaters and EVERYTHING.


Fast forward to now. I am still obsessed with reading, and it is extremely rare that I don't have a book in progress. Sometimes I read a couple books simultaneously, but that can get super confusing. I speed read, which makes Justin mad; we spend all sorts of money on books that I read in a day or two, and then I am begging him to take me back to the bookstore. I reread certain books over and over again. I spend a ridiculous amount of money on books and DARE someone to tell me to go to the library instead. Never! I AM the library.

Anyways, usually books are hit and miss, but I just hit a long string of books that I've loved, so I thought I'd share. If you're looking for something to read, check these out. It should be forewarned that I mostly read contemporary fiction, which sometimes can be a little coarse. So. Yeah. If you aren't down with that, then back to Stephanie Meyer you go!

Bridge of Sighs - Richard Russo

I love a really good coming of age, American tale type stories. Love the Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Glass Castle, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, all of those. Bridge of Sighs follows a family who owns a small grocery store in upstate New York and their triumphs and failures. It draws parallels through the acquaintances of the families, so once the book is over you feel like you've seen into a little piece of every family in the town. It also has an unexpected ending, which I like. I sometimes like my books to not tie up nicely at the end.

The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

I'd been meaning to read this book for a long time, and finally picked it up the other day. I was obsessed with it for a week straight. I consider a book a success when I think about it afterwards; usually I am onto the next book without another thought. This one had me trying to figure out a lot of the mechanics even after I was done. It's about a man who spontaneously time travels (but not in a lame Back to the Future Deloreon way) and meets his wife long before they are ever supposed to marry. I suppose in the end it is more of a love story than anything. I totally cried at the end. AND I heard they are releasing the movie this year. With Rachel McAdams. LOVE.

American Wife - Curtis Sittenfeld

If you were to ask me what the best book I've read in the last year, this would 100% be it. I took it with me to Lake Powell, since due to my pregnant state I wasn't able to do fun water sports. I read it cover to cover in two days. It actually is a fictional story loosely based on the life of Laura Bush. Which doesn't even sound THAT interesting, but the book is riveting. I was totally fascinated by the whole thing. It follows her from a child, all the way to marrying George W. Bush and becoming First Lady. It totally makes me rethink the entire "I hate George Bush" thing and put it into his perspective. Curtis Sittenfeld is one of my favorite new-er writers, she wrote my all time favourite book, Prep.

Me Talk Pretty One Day- David Sedaris

K, so this is not fiction. At all. I bought it thinking it was, and my mind was opened to the amazing hilarity that is a David Sedaris book. It is basically a collection of essays that are centered mostly on language, which sounds boring, but the guy is HILARIOUS. He's gay, and the first essay centers around the fact that he had a lisp and was sent to speech therapy for it. So funny. I have since also ready When You are Engulfed in Flames, another one of his book and it is equally as funny. He's actually the brother of Amy Sedaris, and she makes occasional appearances in his story. Added bonus.

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz

This was my airplane book this past week when I went home to Canada. When I first started it I found I had a hard time getting into it. A lot of the beginning is laying groundwork for the story, which is about a Dominican boy living in Jersey who is a BIG loser; like, reads comic books all day and talks in Kling On. Through the course of the book you find out more of his Dominican heritage, set in the tumultuous times of the Trujillo regime in the 40's. The stories are incredible - I found myself sneaking off to read this book whenever I could. I love reading books that make me aware of something I'd never really thought of before. Like, gangsters in 1940 Dominican Republic? Really? But it's awesome. Head's up for those who are sensitive to language though, because this one is extremely authentic.

When I was at home, my mom had a big box of all my old books that she wanted me to go through and see if I wanted any of them. I came home with an extra suitcase. So my next reading will be going through all the old books I used to read. My awesome friend Kate was just talking on her blog about how she just reread Wait till Helen Comes. Definitely on the list, along with Behind the Attic Wall (which WILL make me cry) and Son of Interflux (which will make me laugh.)

Anyway, read some, let me know what you think. Enjoy!!


Anonymous said...

Are you a member of Goodreads? If not, you should check it out. Greatest invention ever. It's like facebook for books.

Jen said...

I haven't read a Sedaris book yet but I really want to. I can't wait for Time Traveler's Wife movie. I love Rachel too! Great list of books!! I'm really intrigued by the Laura Bush one. I'm definitely going to check that one out.

Nathaly said...

Yay! Thank you for this. I need a new book to read. I think I'll start with The Time Traveler's Wife.

Lund Family said...

THANK YOU!! I need some new books and now I know just what to check out.

Victoria said...

Can I just say, that only the COOL KIDS (ie. you, me and Jen Elliott) were on the Battle of the Books Team. Always be proud, Jacqueline!!!

Kat said...

have you read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, or The Book of Negroes? both really good one I've done in my book club. Hey I remember those Battle of the Book days:)

Sheriece said...

Ah, this post inspired me to remember about The Book of Lost Things. I started on Friday night and I'm almost done. I will have to visit the library of Jacqueline again here pretty soon :)

Manda said...

I'm excited to get some new book recommendations! I also loved Time traveler's wife. So good. Have you read any David Foster Wallace? He is my new favorite. I am a hardcore library fan, but I buy DFW because he is that funny.

mushbelly said...

I've been looking for some good books to read - so thanks for this list. I have long been a David Sedaris fan. I love to read his essays to dh in bed at night before we fall asleep. Always good for a laugh. Its really fun to buy his books on tape - because he personally reads them and that makes them all the more hilarious.

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