Writing about books was once a huge priority for me. Years ago I would actually start drafting what I wanted to say while I was still reading the book! As soon as I finished a book, I’d write up a post to share my thoughts. These days…not so much. Some of you might say “just let it go!” but I like being able to look back on old book posts and see what I thought at the time. I also love sharing with you some of the gems that I’ve read. I’m hoping that a mini-review type format will do the trick for both. I’ll still likely do full length posts for the books that I might have more to say about, but this will also relieve some of the pressure while still keeping a record of what I’ve read. I know I’ve done mini-reviews here before, but I’m thinking that as long as I’m reading as much as I am (ha!), I’ll do one of these posts once a month.
Of course, if you have specific questions or comments you can leave them in the comments section for further chit chatting! As always.
The Rosie Project in Short: Don is an entirely cerebral genetics professor who isn’t quite as smart in the manners of love. He creates a highly involved Wife Project to help him find his perfect mate, but puts it on hold when Rosie, an offbeat waitress, enlists his help in looking for her father.
Bottom Line and Recommendation: Don and Rosie are entirely likable characters in spite of their highly dysfunctional moments (or maybe it’s because of these that make them endearing), and the book moves along at a nice little clip. The plot is predictable (as long as you’ve seen at least one romantic comedy in your lifetime), but the book is enjoyable and smart. Great for bedside or beach side reading. The Rosie Project will make a great movie (as apparently Hollywood agrees as the movie rights have been purchased).
Ella Minnow Pea in Short: The island of Nollop is named after the gentleman who penned the pangram “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” (Nollop is fictional and a pangram is a sentence containing every letter of the alphabet). Nollopians prize themselves on being a lettered community, but when a letter falls from the monumental pangram the town officials ban this letter (and each subsequent fallen letters) from oral and written communication. Thus begins a zany quest of certain Nollopian citizens to fight back and come up with a pangram shorter than Nollops’.
Bottom Line and Recommendation: I have a thing for epistolary novels–there’s something about zipping through the letters that makes them so easy to devour (just one more letter!). Ella Minnow Pea made me smile on many occasions with it’s word play and cleverness, even though the characters themselves are not very developed. I was mostly too delighted by the gradual decrease in letters that could be used in each epistle to care whether I was really getting to know the characters or not. Especially recommended to language and word lovers.
In the Midnight Rain in Short: After developing an online friendship with Dr. Reynard, Ellie travels to his small home town in Texas to research the mysterious disappearance of a famous blues singer for the biography she is writing. Unbeknownst to those she enlists for research help, Ellie is also trying to discover who her father is. To complicate her research, Dr. Reynard (aka Blue) turns out to be a hopelessly gorgeous southerner with a helplessly wounded heart.
Bottom Line and Recommendation: I found In the Midnight Rain to be a completely absorbing read. While there were parts that made me roll my eyes, I still got caught up in the drama of the characters, the mysterious puzzle pieces to Ellie’s various research projects, and of course the romance between Ellie and Blue. The best part of In the Midnight Rain (um, besides those parts) is the atmosphere that Samuel creates around her characters–the book was incredibly descriptively vivid. Recommended to those who want to sink into a great story and forget about everything else outside.
A Visit from the Goon Squad In Short: Bennie Salazar has lived quite the life rising from a small garage band in his suburban Southern California town to being one of the best known record producers in the industry. Sasha is his beloved assistant who has her own set of hang-ups. Each chapter explores different aspects of Bennie and Sasha’s lives and the lives that those they have touched. Special note that the book is non-linear and
Bottom Line and Recommendation: I love a good book that keeps me guessing throughout how all of the dots will connect. A Visit from the Goon Squad was a bit of a mental workout (check out this awesome post from James B Chester with lovely little diagrams) and part of me wishes I had made better note of all the connections. While there were parts of the book I really loved, and the characters are fairly developed, and the writing is awesome…by the last chapter there wasn’t enough connection to keep me satisfied. Don’t you hate when you want to love a book but are left wanting just a little bit more from it? Well loved by many, I’d recommend this one to readers who enjoy a non-traditional narrative structure.
So, any of these strike your fancy? Have you read any of these? I know a couple of them have definitely made the book blog rounds!
What books of note have you been reading lately?