What I Read: February/March

As you might have surmised from the looooong stretches of time that go between postings, I don’t have a lot of time to blog these days. Work is busier than ever lately and the weekends are full of fun with B and Chester and/or errands. Most of the time, I’m going, going, going from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Don’t get me wrong. I (mostly) love my job and I (totally and completely) love my family. But, writing used to be a much bigger part of what I did in my free time and I miss it. I have lots of ideas, but by the time I finally sit down at night my brain is completely fried. and the last thing I can do is string a sentence together.

Luckily, reading is my other favorite thing and that’s the level of activity I’m able to manage lately. So, here’s what I’ve gotten into during the past few weeks:

Us

us

I have been meaning to read more of David Nicholls’ work ever since I read One Day a few years ago (I refuse to see the movie because I know it will spoil the magic for me). Like that work, Us, which was short listed for the Man Booker Prize before it was even published last year, is a story about a relationship between two people who seem completely ill-suited for each other.

Connie was a free-spirited artist before settling down with uptight biochemist Douglas. At the outset of the novel, Connie tells Douglas that she plans to leave him, after nearly two decades of marriage. The news comes shortly before they are about to embark on a “grand tour” of Europe with their son. The rest of the novel alternates between that less-than-relaxing tour and flashbacks to the earlier days of their courtship and marriage.

Although the characters are not terribly original (Douglas, for example, reminded me of the equally clueless, but strangely likable ,protagonist of The Rosie Project), the story is well crafted, humorous and poignant.

Orphan Train 

orphan

In this novel by Christian Baker Kline, Molly is a troubled girl, who has spent much of her life being bounced around between foster homes in modern-day Maine; elderly widow Vivian lost her parents shortly after her family immigrated from Ireland to New York and was transported to a new life in the Midwest via an “orphan train.” Their lives intersect when Molly is made to work with VIvian as part of a community service requirement and the two discover just how much they have in common.

Based on the synopsis of the book, I thought I would love it but was ultimately disappointed. The writing style was overly simplistic, and that made it kind of boring. Halfway through I did a Google search to see if it was a young adult novel because that’s how it reads. I was surprised to find that it wasn’t!

I didn’t find myself caring about Molly at all, and skimmed the portions of the book that were told from her point of view. Vivian’s background was much more interesting and the novel could have been far more compelling had the story just focused on her. I wasn’t familiar with the orphan train movement, and it did make me want to learn more, so I might have to seek out some other books on the subject.

The One and Only

one and

I’m not ashamed to admit that I love me some “chick lit.” Sometimes, you just want an easy read with a predictable plot, right? Emily Giffin is one of my favorite authors in this genre, but I don’t think that this is her best work.

Giffin’s main character, Shea Rigsby, has spent her entire life in the small college town of Walker, Texas. She loves all things football—especially the Walker College football team (so much so that she started working in college’s sports information department as a student and never left) Her best friend, Lucy, is the daughter of legendary Walker coach, Clive Carr. When a tragedy strikes close to home, Shea begins to question everything about her life and decides to make some big changes in the process.

The main ingredients are there—Tragedy! Best friends! True love!—but something was missing. Maybe I was disappointed because I can’t relate—at all—to football as a religion? Or, maybe I was slightly creeped out by Shea’s love interest (I don’t want to give anything away, but you might be able to figure it out from the brief description above)? Either way, I would get your chick lit fix elsewhere.

So, that’s all I’ve got this month, but I’m always on the lookout for recommendations for the next thing to pick up. Any suggestions?!

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