Doing Harm by Kelly Parsons
I saw many reviews that complained that it was too obvious who the bad guy was. My response? Well, duh. This book isn’t suspenseful because we’re waiting to find out WHO the bad guy is. We’re waiting to find out the bad guy’s PLAN. I actually liked this set up very much. I wasn’t taken with our “hero” – but maybe you’re not supposed to be. That would be a cool discussion. Think I saw some reviews too that complained about the medical jargon; I didn’t think it too bad, but I do have administrative experience in the medical field, so maybe I picked up on more than the average person would. Doubt it though – I really felt it pretty easy to follow along. Not a phenomenal book, but a neat quick read.
The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
My first venture into romance that wasn’t written by Sarah MacLean. I was nervous, because really, how does anyone measure up to Sarah which she’s the first and only example of the genre you’ve read?
Anyway, I didn’t find this one AS good as Sarah’s, unsurprisingly, but it was still pretty good! I enjoyed the heroine; she’s witty and naïve at the same time – quite hilarious. Hero was a little annoying at times, seriously needs some therapy, but he’s mostly good. Really not much going on outside of the budding relationship though, which I found a bit disappointing – MacLean is good about making sure life events are still happening and folding into the romance.
Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James
YES. I did it. I read Fifty Shades. and I’m not ashamed. Mostly.
I’m telling myself, and everyone else, that I read it for cultural value. As a self-proclaimed “book person,” I can’t really ignore how big of a phenomenon this series was, and still kind of is, with the movie coming out. I felt like I needed to read at least the first one. If nothing else, I didn’t feel right passing judgment without reading it. And maaaaaybe I was a teensy bit curious too.
Most things you’ve heard are true. The writing is terrible, particularly the dialogue, but even some of the narrative is bad and cheesy and cringe-worthy. BUT I gotta say, it gave me some good belly laughs as a result, so I almost kind of like it for that!
I’m torn on whether to complete the series or not. Is the bad writing worth the laughs? My curiosity may win out again. If nothing else, my friend Lauren read all three, and she is fantastic for discussing these sorts of things, so I may read the other two based on that alone.
UPDATE: I did finish the series. I don’t exactly regret reading these books, but I wouldn’t say my life was enriched by them. They were hilarious, at any rate.
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
I wanted to like this book so much. I’ve been hearing about how fantastically quirky Russell is, and thought she would be right up my alley. I certainly got a sense of her fantastical quirkiness, and the story grabbed my attention at the beginning, but my interest waned as the book seemingly dragged on. If I’m not mistaken, she mostly writes short stories, and this is her first or perhaps her only novel – maybe that is the problem. I am definitely willing to give her work another go, with the idea that she might truly shine in her short stories.
I did love the concept of their little alligator theme park. It kind of made me think of home, with Beaumont’s Gator Country, even though I’ve never been. (and I don’t want to.)
The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr
Speaking of thinking of home… for years my mom and my aunt have encouraged me to read this book. Karr grew up in the same town my parents did, only about a decade or so earlier, and this is one of her memoirs.
It was strange, reading a book that’s decently well known, talking about places and things that are so familiar to me. Granted, many things have changed in the last few decades, and certainly Karr’s childhood, and that of my mother, was different from mine in a million ways, simply due to that difference in time. It was really neat though, and felt all the more real to me for taking place in SETX. It’s heart-wrenching though, for a number of reasons, in particular her depiction of her mother, that, from what I can gather (the fam doesn’t really go into details), bears some similarities to my grandmother.
Related: apparently there’s a book called The Thicket, that’s also set in SETX, and it’s being made into a movie starring Peter Dinklage, so obvs, I need to read that book sooner rather than later.
Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull (on audio)
This book is part company memoir, part management advice. Catmull is one of the founders of Pixar, which is why I, and pretty much anyone, is picking this book up.
He had some enlightening things to say about the creative process and handling a company that runs on creativity. But overall, I had to admit that I checked this out hoping for LOTS of talk about the films, and while he did dive into some background on the movies, ultimately that’s not what he wanted to highlight. So my interest waned a bit after awhile. and even though he had quite a bit of insight into managing a creative team, some of his counsel ran a bit trite.
Son by Lois Lowry
Book 4 in the Giver series focuses on the mother of Gabe, the newchild whom Jonas rescues and takes with him to Elsewhere in the first book. It is probably my favorite of the three sequels; I’ve been longing to know the rest of Gabe’s story since first reading The Giver, and I mean, c’mon, this is a story about a mother separated from her son, who will do anything to be reunited, even coming from a world where love is discouraged and chemically taken away. Even so, it still wasn’t as heart stopping as the first book, but that could just as easily be due to my having read The Giver when I was like, 10 years old, and reading the sequels as an adult. At any rate, Lowry continues to be wonderful.
Currently reading: Dare Me by Megan Abbott
In queue: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell and Stardust by Neil Gaiman (on audio)