It’s that time of the month again! You know, the time of month where my inner “book nerd” comes out. Please pardon the interruption in The Pinterest Therapy Sessions today and check out a few of the great books I’ve read lately.
THE ROSIE PROJECT – Graeme Simsion
You can’t help but love the narrator here. Professor Don Tillman is a hunky and brilliant 39-year-old geneticist – one who’s designed a “Wife Project” to find a suitable life partner with a scientifically valid 16 page survey. While Don explains that he’s “wired differently”, Big Bang Theory fans will probably see a resemblance to “Dr. Sheldon Cooper“. Don clearly falls somewhere along the autism spectrum – instantly assessing the age and BMI of everyone he meets, planning his schedule for each day down to the minute and utterly failing to understand irony, sarcasm and subtlety. By the end of the novel, though, you’ll be rooting for Don to find love with the one person who is the exact opposite of him. This an easy breezy read and I can now empathize more with adults with Aspergers and other Autism Spectrum disorders.
WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE – Maria Semple
Yet another great easy breezy fiction read! ( I was on a roll this month!) At one time, Bernadette was a prize-winning architect. Now she’s an eccentric and anti-social mother & wife pulling a vanishing act on her daughter and Microsoft guru husband two days before they embark on a trip to Antarctica.
The author was a writer for Arrested Development and it shows! You’ll be laughing as she skewers Microsoft, Seattle, helicopter parents and TED Talks, among other things. And I loved how Semple abandoned traditional narration and moved the plot along seamlessly with emails, invoices, report cards, letters, TED Talk transcripts and even Emergency Room bills. This is probably the new fad in plot development so expect to see more fiction told this way.
IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS – Erik Larson
And finally, a non-fiction book so well-researched and well-written that at times you forget it’s non-fiction. This is the story of Professor William Dodd, the American ambassador to Hitler’s Germany from 1933-1937. Dodd, as it turns out, is very ill-suited to diplomatic life. He comes to Germany with his wife and two adult children, foolishly believing he will be able to finish the book he’s writing about the antebellum American South. He doesn’t fit in with the wealthy diplomatic corps. The Nazis, with their love of pomp and circumstance, don’t respect his frugality and practicality. But the Dodds do have a ringside seat as Germany is engulfed in brutality, terror and dictatorship.
The most interesting Dodd, by far, is the Ambassador’s daughter Martha. She was a minor literary figure of her day and carried on relationships with Carl Sandberg and Thornton Wilder, among a great many others. Once in Germany, Martha is enamored with the men of the Third Reich, becomes a mistress of the head of the Gestapo and later, the girlfriend of a communist spy. And even more interestingly, Martha, herself, eventually becomes a communist spy.
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