April 24, 2012

Recent Books

I haven't done a book post in a long time. And I am not going to try to catch up on all the books I have read since forever ago. Just some recent books I got out of the library. And yes, I will shamlessly steal pictures from Amazon. So no, you CAN'T click to look inside. At least not here.

Savannah Blues (Southern)

Savannah Blues
Mary Kay Andrews

Mary Kay Andrews is great. Total fluff. Nothing too deep or meaningful going on, just fairly regular life for southern girls. Well if regular life involves a nice romance with an occasional murder or mystery thrown in. Most of her books deal with some aspect of interior decorating actually. Antique dealers, interior designers, junk pickers, or newbies who are fixing an old house up. Which is interesting to me. If you find that sort of thing deadly dull, I wouldn't recommend her books to you.
Southern people fascinate me. They are a whole different kettle of fish. These books aren't realistic. A lot of her books deal with the more elite classes, generally from a middle class girls perspective. So no poor southerners living in shacks or anything. But I can excuse that. Andrews isn't pretending to be deep. She is writing chick lit, which she is good at, and doesn't try to make it more meaningful by delving into stark and depressing issues. If you need a good rest-your-brain book check her out. When I get done reading her books, I feel happy and finished with that book. There is something appealing about a book that doesn't make you think about it for weeks afterwards.

Winter Garden

Winter Garden
Kristin Hannah

Now this book DOES make you think about it afterwards. But I am okay with that too. Amy P W gave me this one to read and it was GOOD. I have never read any Kristin Hannah's before, which is exciting, since there are several books out there waiting to be read. I wasn't sure I wanted to read this one, since several reviews mentioned crying and I am not that into depressing books. But this book isn't depressing. It is... well heart-wrenching, but it isn't depressing. I did cry. But for some reason, I cried more about the daughter dealing with her marriage than the parts I was probably supposed to cry at. Hey, I am pregnant--I don't have to explain why I cry over things! This particular book deals with a family owned apple orchard in Washington state. The family has Russian roots which have never been delved into--namely the mother is from Russia, but refuses to talk about it. After the death of the father, her daughters get their very distant mother to finally open up about Russia. Mostly the World War II era. Absolutely fascinating stuff. Fascinating in a haunting and horrible way. Stalin was not a cozy kind of fellow. After reading this book, I decided that the only reason Germany was not able to succesfully invade the USSR was because Stalin was willing to sacrifice any and all of his countrymen to the greater cause of seeing the Soviet Union succeed where other countries failed. 700,000 people starved to death in Leningrad. Any other normal leader would have given in before that many civilians died. But not Stalin. He definitely felt that communism and the USSR were too big to fail. From Russian History classes in Anchorage, I knew that the number of his own countrymen Stalin was responsible for killing during WWII was higher than the number of all the people the German army killed throughout Europe. And that includes the Holocaust. Still, it is crazy to read about. Anyway, I am getting off topic. Pretty much, if history interests you, you will like this book. And if family dynamics interest you, you will like this book. And if you just want an interesting and somewhat informative book, you will like this book. I wasn't crazy about the ending. It seemed slightly jarring and frustrating to me. It wasn't a bad ending. Just.... not the ending I would have chosen. But not an ending to put off reading it for. 

24-Karat Kids: A Novel

24 Karat Kids
Dr. Judy Goldstein and Sebastian Stuart

I admit it--I grabbed this for the cover. But I loved it. It is about a newly graduated/done with her intern pediatrician starting to practice in an exclusive Upper East Side practice. All about crazy rich people and their over-parenting from the perspective of a middle class pediatrician. Mostly this book deals with Shelly Green, the pediatrician, being slightly awe-struck by the wealth and glamour of the Upper East Side and eventually finding the balance between her Jackson Heights childhood (lower middle class) and the current reality of being a pediatrician who needs to wear Manalo Blahniks and Fendi. I really enjoyed it. Again, nothing too deep. 

Lovers & Players

Lovers and Players 
Jackie Collins
No, I did not listen to it on CD, this just happens to be the cover I have. 
Occasionally, I quickly scan the aisles of books at the library and if there is an author with 10-12 books I grab one to see what this author is all about. I figure if the library has a lot of books by one author they are obviously popular. According to the biop on the back, Jackie Collins 23 books have never been out of print and all have appeared on the best sellers lists. But let me tell you. She is over-hyped. She can write well--I did finish this book. But I would recommend it to no one. It is about rich people in New York City. And I know I just told you I loved seeing the Upper East Side from Shelly Green's perspective. But really, a book about rich people from their perspective is just not something I like that much. Totally unrealistic and unbelievable. It is like reading about an alien species. Do rich people really think and behave in this atrocious way? Makes me glad to be in the not rich class. There was so much sex, drugs, and despicable behavior in this book that I felt like I needed to disinfect my brain when I got done. It left me feeling depressed for the human race and disgusted with myself for having just read an overly long book about stupidity. I hope none of you guys reading this are Jackie Collins fans. Because I don't want to offend you, but ALSO because I hope I don't know people who actually like this trash. That is harsh. And judgmental. I guess if people are obsessively into following the doings of the rich and famous, they might like Jackie Collins. I enjoy casual dabbling in celebrity gossip. But I like to pretend they aren't actually having affairs, getting high on drugs, and deep, down, are nice regular people. Jackie Collins, therefore, left me cold. And apparently most or all of Collins books are about the rich and famous. So I am going to go ahead and give her a complete miss in the future. I have better things to do and better books to read than to waste my time infecting my brain with spoiled and stupid rich behavior. 

I think that is the harshest I have ever been about a book. A book that is poorly written is just dismissed from my mind. But authors who can write well and waste their time writing about stupid things are a much greater waste of space than authors who just aren't that great. Well written authors are clearly making a choice to write about that sort of things. Authors who can't write are simply unable to do anything else. More to be pitied then censored. 

Have a good day! We woke up to dazzling sunshine after several days of cloudiness and  a night of pouring rain. Happiness! So I had to take some pictures of rainy flowers in the sunshine.

Vultures circling something

What Gilbert and Lily were doing while I was writing this blog. Bumper cars with a model T and a log truck

Don't notice my messy floor.


Cecil and Amy said...

So you read my book! Yay! I'm with you on the conclusion- it could have just been dropped and let the next-to-the-last chapter finish 'er up.

So who won: the log truck or the Model T?

LJ said...

I have read several by Kristin Hannah, and my favorite is Magic Hour. Thanks for your blog posts...they always make me laugh!

geri douglas said...

Glad for the book reviews and I have to admit I hate trashy books, and have thrown many in the garbage where they belong. I will pick up some Kristin Hannah books. Loved all the pics of the kids and love their cool outfits.