This is the third David Sedaris book I've read, and the third one that I own. I actually don't have that many authors whose works are all on my shelves. But, it's worth it because he's so dang funny. It was good to start the month off laughing.
The Wine-Dark Sea of Grass by Marilyn Brown
I bought this at the Provo DI a few years ago because I really liked the title and the cover (weird, I know). And I actually like a lot of the more serious Mormon fiction that I've read. This book actually turned out to be pretty good. It was slow to begin with, but then I started really liking the characters and the story was intriguing.
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
This book was super cool a few years ago, but for some reason it just never appealed to me. Now that I've read it, I understand why everyone thinks it's so cool. The writing is amazing, the voice is powerful, and the author manages to write about a fairly common literary trope (tragic death of a young girl) in a refreshing manner. It was interesting to read this book as a counterpoint/accompaniment to Strange Piece of Paradise from last month.
Better by Atul Gawande
I love to read about medicine, and I loved Gawande's first book, Complications. This was just as good, and he branches out from specific cases to some of the larger issues affecting medicine such as malpractice and disease prevention. His article on obstetrics comes from this essay, so you can get an idea of what the rest of the book is about.
The Grand Tour by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
I read Sorcery and Cecilia a few months ago and actually enjoyed it quite a bit. This one was just as much fun, although it took me a little while to remember who everyone was and what was going on. A nice little fluffy book for reading on a rainy afternoon.
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
I was a little nervous to read this book, because I'd either heard that it was the most wonderful thing someone had read, or that it was terrible, over-hyped schlock. Personally, I thought it fell somewhere in between. The writing wasn't as bad as I had heard at all; there were a few typos that bothered me (sloppy editing?) and a lot of scenes seemed heavier on dialogue than on action. But it was truly scary, and I haven't read a scary book for a while. I think that was the problem for me, though. I'm not in love with Edward--I'm scared to death of him. Of course, during high school and most of college I was scared of boys in general, so vampire boys scare me even more. And I really don't like romances where the only thing keeping people together is some strange, mysterious force of attraction that neither can explain. I guess I'm just not the target audience for this book at all, but I still enjoyed it.
On Paradise Drive by David Brooks
I had read an excerpt from this book in the New York Times, so I thought I'd try the rest of it. Some of his commentary on contemporary American life was quite funny, although I thought he was fairly broad in some of his conclusions. During his chapters on America's obsession with perpetual movement towards perfection I kept thinking of the ways in which the Church, especially cultural interpretations of it, mesh with American cultural attitudes. Maybe someday I'll be able to form enough coherent thoughts to write a post about it.Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
This was another short book that was a quick but delightful read. It's a collection of essays about books and reading, and I enjoyed most of them. The only thing I didn't like was feeling so culturally inferior because I didn't read Thackery in my youth and I get excited about finding cheap paperback contemporary fiction on sale at the library.
Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichel
I like food and I like memoir, so this was a great read for me. I also have lots of memories that center around food and eating, so in some ways it felt a lot like my life. Of course, the foods and experiences I had were vastly different, but I still liked this book.
The Minister's Daughter by Julie Hearn
This was another quick read--it's a YA historical fiction book that includes fantastical elements such as fairies. It popped up on Amazon linked with Twilight, so I thought I'd give it a try. It actually was better than I thought it would be, and the plot had some fun twists that I totally didn't see coming. In my youth I was in love with historical fiction, but now I sometimes get bothered by more modern elements that seem to creep in, especially with YA stuff. But I still enjoyed the book; however, if I'd read this at 14 I probably would have re-read it about ten times.
Heartburn by Nora Ephron
So a sarcastically funny book about a woman's divorce probably shouldn't be on the list of things to read right now. But I'd read a review of this recently and I decided to give it a try. I must have been in the right mood because I found it hilarious. Of course, if you haven't been "a woman scorned" you might not enjoy it as much. It also has recipes, which added to the fun.
I think I'll start adding movies into my "reading" for the month, since they're kind of like books, right?
Everything is Illuminated: I liked it better than the book; it really helped to have a linear plot structure and to be on the outside of the quirky characters rather than the inside. It was funny, but still managed to have deep insight about history and it's impact on the present.
Paradise Now: I was expecting more from this movie because I'd heard so much about it. It had its moments, but generally I didn't fall in love with it as much as I thought I would. It's kind of like the God's Army of Palestinian movies--groundbreaking and good, but not quite a masterpiece in my book.
States of Grace: I already gave this one it's very own post. It was great; you should go see it.
Garden State: I probably shouldn't watch romantic comedies while I'm home alone. It was a very good, quirky movie and I enjoyed it anyways. The music is as good as everyone says it is.