I read some stuff
My friend Kathryn regularly does book reviews on her blog and I always find them very enjoyable. I’ve been reading quite a bit lately so I thought I would also do some book reviews.(Bu they won’t be as good as Kathryn’s. You should really go visit her blog.)
First Family, Ellis: This is about John and Abigail Adams, and I loved it. I love George Washington with his wisdom and stoicism, and Benjamin Franklin was funny and shocking and prescient, but I really love John Adams’ humanity. And wisdom of course. I mean, the guy was very smart. But he was insecure and principled and impatient and overly concerned about his legacy. And he had an awesome, wise wife whose opinion he truly valued. And he was on-off-on best friends with Thomas Jefferson, which makes me like Jefferson more. If John and Abigail could forgive him all his failings, I guess I can too.
Bittersweet, Niequist: This was a recent book for my book club. It’s a collection of short essays written over one period of the author’s life. The author makes you feel like a friend, kind of like you’re reading her very well-written blog. Each girl in book club appreciated a different part of the book which means there’s bound to be something in it you’d appreciate, too.
The Hunger Games trilogy, Collins: Do books ever have that “Story By” and “Teleplay By” thing that TV shows sometimes have? Where one person gets credit for coming up with the idea and another person gets credit for actually writing it? Because Suzanne Collins should have passed off her story idea to another writer, one who was interested in things like sharing the details of major plot developments and fleshing out characters so we had at least a little interest in what happened to them. But overall I guess I enjoyed the books, I would just advise you go in with low expectations. Harry Potter these are not.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Skloot: Kathryn reviewed this book a while ago, and you should probably just go read what she wrote. This book was very interesting and I find myself still thinking about it weeks after I finished it. A lot of it is set in Baltimore so you get some reminders of The Wire, which is fun. Also, it was while discussing this book with me that Todd decided I need to switch my political party affiliation. I think he’s wrong, but the book does deal with a lot of tough concepts.
I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced, Ali with Minoui: This is a memoir from a little girl in Yemen who was married off to a much older man when she was 10 years old, and then she asked for and received a divorce. She’s kind of awesome. It’s technically a Young Adult book (as is The Hunger Games) but I’ve found I enjoy reading well-written YA books. This one and Sold, which I read over a year ago, are quick reads but the ideas aren’t easy. The authors have a way of writing like a young girl, using a limited vocabulary while still vividly describing the protagonists’ situations and feelings. And you can easily read the books in one Saturday, which kind of makes you feel smart.
The 19th Wife, Ebershoff: I finished this last night and all I could think was, “Meh.” It’s about two women who were both the 19th wives of their Mormon, polygamist husbands, one today and one who was married to Brigham Young in the 1800’s. And there’s a murder mystery. I think the 1800’s stuff is interesting, but the modern day stuff not as much. That’s probably because the narrator annoys me and not enough time was spent with the modern day characters for me to care about them very much. I’m kind of on a Mormon kick lately having also recently read Under the Banner of Heaven. I think the idea of a purely American religion is intriguing, and I’m so fascinated by the insular nature of the religion and in particular its polygamist sects. And we may have a Mormon president soon. With that in mind I don’t know whether or not to recommend these books to you. (I also recently learned that there was a Lifetime movie made based upon the modern day part of this book starring Logan from Gilmore Girls and that girl from Not Another Teen Movie. So I’ll be looking for that on Netflix.)
Any good books to recommend to me?