Tuesday, July 8, 2014

This Week's Book Buffet -- July 7th(ish)

Sadly, I am not stretched out on a chaise, sipping a mojito, feeling a slight breeze, and losing myself in my book.  I am not even spending much time reading on a quite comfortable chair on my side porch with a cold can of DC.  And yet, I do feel like I have more time to read this summer.  As my kids recover indoors after a full morning of outdoor activity, I have longish stretches of time to piddle around the house trying to create order and clean laundry while listening to an audiobook.  I tote a book book around town and steal moments while my peeps are occupied with tennis lessons or a library class.  I have my ebook ready on my phone as I lie next to whomever needs a little company to settle into sleep.

Here's what's on this week's book buffet:

Ebook:  I am finally reading Ann Patchett's Truth and Beauty.  I have always avoided this book--the story of Patchett's friendship with the late Lucy Grealy--because I imagined it would be depressing.  Patchett's This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage includes an essay about Truth and Beauty being protested by some vocal members of the Clemson community after the book was chosen as the reading selection for incoming freshman.  I then vowed to read it.  I adore Patchett's writing as much as ever and am intrigued by this memoir of two remarkable women writers and their friendship.  Now, I'm going to have to read Grealy's Autobiography of a Face too.

Audiobook:  I'm savoring each syllable of Jojo Moyes's The One Plus One -- long-awaited by me and many others who adored Me Before You.  This story of a road trip, an unlikely connection, and a mother doing the best she can is right in my sweet spot.  Plus, audiobooks narrated by Brits are always my cup of tea.

Book Book:  I was so taken with Stewart O'Nan's 2007 novel Last Night at the Lobster and was thrilled to find The Odds:  A Love Story in the book sale my room of my library as it has been on my TBR list for a while now.  I'm a little more than a third of the way through this slim novel, but feeling like his portrait of the final weekend of a long and imperfect (as are most in varying degrees) marriage is perfectly rendered.  He is very attuned to the details, the gestures and exchanges of relationships.  Plus, who isn't intrigued by this plot:  a couple in debt and on the verge of divorce deciding to take a bus to Niagara Falls and gamble all they have left?

On Deck:  Two of the books on my library list became available today.  I imagine I will like Emma Straub's The Vacationers as much as many others have.  George Saunders' Congratulations, by the way  (a published graduation speech) has won me with the blurb on the back:  "Here's something I know to be true, although it's a little corny, and I don't know quite what to do with it:  What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness."

Buzz at the Pool:  One of the things I love about summer is how people are so interested in talking books and trading recommendations!  Jennifer Weiner's All Fall Down is gaining traction among swim team moms.  I read it quickly and think most moms would be easily engrossed in this tale of a mom who goes to extremes to manage her life's stresses.  I also adored Elin Hilderbrand's The Matchmaker, as have several friends.  Three readers I trust have recommended Jane Green's Tempting Fate.  I've never quite forgiven Green for Jemima J and tend to avoid her books, but maybe I will check it out.

Snackshot Snapshot:  My Jewel has just started stocking Friendly's ice cream products.  The ice cream is good (though, of course, does not compare to the premium Graeter's which my grocery also sells) but, more importantly, Friendly's ice cream takes me back to childhood when a meal or dessert at Friendly's was a very special treat.  It also reminds me of the summer before I started high school when I waitressed at a Friendly's.  Not my favorite job ever, but I'm proud that I did it well.  I still remember gleefully counting my tip money at the end of a shift and ordering Friendly's quesadillas (then an exotic new menu item) to eat during break.

Enough about me now.  What are you reading?  What are you eating?  How's your summer?