September 21, 2011


I haven't been reading a ton these past few weeks. Life has been pretty busy, so I have been reading a lot of short stories that can be finished in one lunch break. Mostly L.M. Montgomery and P.G. Wodehouse. I like authors who initialize their first and middle names. 

I went to the library a week or so ago for the first time in a month. I got a few books and I will now dispense my wisdom concerning them. 

Product Details

pigeon english
Stephen Kelman
First of all, I love the cover. That is the sole reason I picked it up. It is written in the first person perspective of an 8 year old boy. An 8 year old who was recently transplanted from Ghana to London.  There is no bemoaning lost things or yearning for Ghana. With a little kids resiliency, he sets out to see what London is all about. This book chronicles his foray into the detective world, trying to solve a recent murder. Combining his Ghanian words with English is where the title comes from. This was a well written book, once you got used to the jumping around that an 8 year old mind might do. The pigeon english is fun. About 40 pages in, I wanted to make sure it ended well because you never know, so I read the end. It does not end well. One of the reviews is "You will be sad for more than one reason when this book ends." Which I took to mean it was exquisitely written and ignored the other inference there--it is a sad ending. I know I shouldn't do this, I know I am ruining it since the author doesn't want me to read that until he has me in the proper frame of mind. Too bad. I refuse to invest my time and emotions in caring about characters that I am then going to feel sad and mournful about. So if you want an entertaining book that ends sad, this one is for you! Or if you want to just ignore the last 5 or 6 paragraphs, it could be a decent book. Keep in mind, I skipped in innards. I knew there was a reason New York Times had not hired me as a book reviewer.

Next up
Product Details
Sisterhood Everlasting
Ann Brashares
This is the last installment of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books. There are 4 or 5 before this one. Mostly entertaining, light reading. This book sort of continued that trend, although this is more light adult reading. I don't think I am ruining anything here by telling you one of the sisterhood dies in this book. It happens 30 pages in and is what the entire book is about, so I don't feel like I am betraying anything here. For some reason, I was sort of detached with this book. I don't know if it is because the writing wasn't such that it pulled me into their emotions and grief, but throughout the whole grieving process, I was more "Huh." than grieving. Also, the author did not thoroughly research her diseases, which is probably fine for most people, but for this here symptom knower, it didn't work. A must read if you have read the other books, but not a rush out and read the previous 4 so you can read this one book. 

Product Details
French Lessons
Ellen Sussman

This was a really unsatisfying book to me. It is about 3 french tutors in Paris and their tutor-ees. Paris is the city of love--I get it, but for crying out loud there was a lot of intimate relations in this book. I like romance and love, but I don't feel I need to know the physical workings of everyone else's love and romance. It wasn't untasteful so much, as never ending. The unsatisfying part of this book was that it introduces one tutor-ee after the other, before you are done with the last. All three tutorees are having fairly major life moments, but you never find out how they resolve their issues. There is a vague, things worked out sort of feeling, but I like resolution! 
I wouldn't recommend this one. 

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The Penny Tree
Holly Kennedy

This was my favorite of the four I have listed. This isn't going to win a Pulitzer at anytime, but it is a love triumphs sort of book, which makes it worthwhile. The writing was sort of haphazard, occasionally slipping back 6 years for a flashback that felt like more of an intrusion than enlightening. I skipped over some of the flashbacks. The one thing I didn't really like in this book was that her mom is a symptom knower like I am, and goes around telling people that maybe it isn't poison ivy, maybe it is Hodgkins. This woman is the supreme symptom knower. There were so many little things in this book that can be a symptom for such and so that I keep reviewing them in my mind, making sure the kids, Justin and I don't have Hodgkins, a tumor in the central nervous system, scolodermis, or myocytosis. If you are a rational person, not a worrying freak of nature like I am, this is a good light, fairly mindless read. 

After all these vaugely depressing reads, I am solacing myself with Pat of Silver Bush by LM Montgomery. Nope, I don't care that it was written for young girls. I want something soothing and pleasant right now!   LM Montgomery did not believe in unhappy endings. She said it might not be true to life, but it was what she was going to write. So take your modern, meaningful books somewhere else. I want to pretend life has happy endings all over the place.


Virginia said...

Haha you really sold me on these books! Actually, when I move back to PA and can have a library again, I might just check out The Penny Tree. I like light mindless reads after big heavy ones, so it's good to have one in the wings.

Verity Earl said...

I've heard of Pigeon English, and even have heard it being spoken! Josh's good friend from graduate school was from Ghana, and he spoke it to his mother. With him, it was more like a mix of several different languages, but English was definitely one of them.

Connie said...

Testing to see if this works. I haven't been able to comment on anybody's post. So I did this "subscribe to comments" thing and seeing if it now allows me.

Evan and Clover and Co. said...

Phew, I was afraid I was going to want to put yet more books on my to-read list, but I managed to not fall in love with any of the descriptions. Although I do take issue with you describing Pat of Silver Bush as "soothing and pleasant". That series depressed me to no end. That girl her brother marries? Ugh.