This summer I escaped…
Thank God for books.
Literary passport in hand, I jetted to NYC, the Hamptons, Paris, Edinburgh and Amsterdam. In real life, I only made it to Florida.
Are you ready for some superlatives from my summer reading list?
BEST BEACH READ:
SOMETHING BORROWED – Emily Griffin
It’s “Chick Lit”, right? After all, it has a pink cover with an engagement ring on it. I prefer Vanity Fair’s description of Griffin as a modern day Jane Austen. She’s good, whatever you call her. So good, this book inspired this post. I already have another Griffin book lined up for in-flight reading for a vacation next month.
MOST LIKELY TO BRING BACK MEMORIES OF Y2k & DECEMBER 31, 1999:
The witty repartee of female friendship makes this story – not the unlikely romance. If only Rowell had filled in the main character’s back story. Just a couple of the questions I had: Who is Lincoln’s father? Why did he have no relationship with his father? Why did his mother never work?
BEST FAN FICTION EVER or MOST LIKELY TO CAUSE MORAL DILEMMAS FOR JANE AUSTEN PURISTS
PD James is the “greatest living writer of British crime fiction”. She is NOT Jane Austen, let’s get that straight. Qualms aside, I’m glad I read this. James’ sequel picks up six years after Pride & Prejudice ends. Darcy, of course, is every bit the loving & dutiful husband and, rather predictably, trouble lurks in the arrival of Lydia and Wickham. James’ version of Elizabeth feels a bit “off” to me, but then our Elizabeth is now the mistress of a great house and the mother of two.
Bottomline: Get the popcorn ready for when this hits PBS Masterpiece Theatre on 10/26/14.
MOST UNRELIABLE NARRATOR
Veering from interesting to disturbing, Koch poses uncomfortable questions about modern parenting, morality and personal responsibility. It’s a toss-up as to who is the most despicable player in this drama.
MOST LIKELY TO FEEL LIKE A LECTURE
The Poisonwood Bible is one of my favorite books of all time and I believe in global warming. That said, this novel reads like a 600 page lecture on climate science. Not a page turner for me…
MOST IN NEED OF A LOVE INTEREST
Isabel Dalhousie is an independently wealthy middle-aged Scottish woman. She’s also a “philosopher” with a nosy streak. As a non-wealthy woman with real problems, I didn’t expect to find her so appealing. But just like that, I’d finished the first book and dived into the 2nd one, Friends, Lovers, Chocolate. Maybe this sounds trite, but, if McCall Smith wants to hold my interest for all nine books in the series, Isabel needs a legitimate love interest of her very own.
MOST LIKELY TO MAKE YOU GRATEFUL YOU’RE NOT A TEENAGER IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Teenagers are cruel. But 21st century technology lends itself to even more cruelty. Other possible superlatives for this one: Most Likely to Make You Relieved You Don’t Have a Teenage Daughter or Most Likely to Make You Fear for Your Teeenage Daughter.
And the most dubious superlative:
NOT NEARLY AS DEPRESSING AS YOU EXPECTED
As the story of the first of Ernest Hemingway’s four wives, reading this is the literary equivalent of watching a train wreck in slow motion. We all know how Hemingway’s story ends. What’s most fascinating here: the hedonistic details of the “Lost Generation” in Paris. James Joyce, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein are all players in this book. Fortunately Hemingway’s starter wife has a happier outcome than “Papa”. And now, I want to read “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald.”
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Now, let’s hear some of your superlatives!