Reading Roundup: July 2009

Goodbye to Poplarhaven: Recollections of a Utah Boyhood by Edward Geary

This book is a collection of personal essays about growing up in a small town in rural Utah. I love his attention to detail and his clear descriptions of a world that is in many ways foreign to me. Despite the fact that his focus is not necessarily religious, his stories about rural life not only helped me understand more about Utah history, but more about certain attitudes and cultural practices among some Mormons I know. It's a worthwhile read if you are interested in personal essay or in Utah history.

Tell No One by Harlan Coben

I don't read too many books in the mystery or thriller genre, but Mr. Fob had read this for his book group and recommended it to me. I thought it was engaging and fun to read; not my favorite book by any means, but good for what it was. I might go ahead and read another one by Coben.

Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas

This was another quick, fun read. The author manages to make her family sound fun and funny without using sarcasm or belittling them in any way. This is the kind of book that makes you want to invite yourself over for dinner with the family just to enjoy all their wonderful stories and tasty food.

Promises To Keep: Diane's Story by Dean Hughes

This book is a follow-up to Hughes' earlier series, and while it ties up many of the story threads from the series I felt that it just wasn't all that interesting on its own. The story is solid and the writing is decent (although I was longing for a better editor for a lot of reasons). If you've read the Hearts of the Children series you would probably enjoy this, but it wasn't a great book.

The Year My Son and I Were Born by Kathryn Lynard Soper

This is probably not the best book to read while pregnant, since her raw honesty about post-partum depression brought back a lot of painful memories for me. But it is a powerful book, not only in its honesty but in the insights she draws from her experience. It is not just a book about dealing with a disabled child, but about dealing with the sudden, devastating challenges that come to all of us at one point or another in our lives.

American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood and the Crime of the Century by Howard Blum

I like well-written books about history and this was no exception. The story is interesting and the people involved really seem to come to life through the author's descriptions of them. I didn't think I would find the specific time period to be quite as interesting as it was; it was also interesting to think about some of the parallels between history as written here and our current time period.

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken

Another book that is probably not the best one to read while pregnant, since it's a memoir of her experience with having a stillborn baby. It was still a good memoir and I thought it was very well-written.

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

A book I enjoyed more than I thought I would, especially since I honestly don't know much about music. It was still a lot of fun to read and I liked the characters quite a bit.

The Giant Joshua by Maurine Whipple

Another book I liked quite a lot. I've read a fair amount about this book since it always comes up in discussions of the history of Mormon literature. I think it's place is well-earned; even though it does sometimes feel a bit dated in its storytelling techniques and word choices, it is still a compelling book with well-drawn characters and an engaging plot. I can also understand the objections of those who worry about its depiction of the pioneers. These are not saints, but good people trying their best to become holy while still falling short because they are human. That makes for good reading in my opinion.

Movies

Jurassic Park

I haven't seen this movie in years, possibly since it was in theater. It is a bit cheesy and the characters are all annoying stereotypes, but it is still pretty darn scary. A good antidote to all the cutesy kids books about dinosaurs that we have sitting around here.

Tell No One

This is a French film based on the Harlan Coben book we read and we both really liked it. First of all, most foreign films I watch are serious dramas so it was nice to watch a French thriller instead. The adaptation of the story to France worked well and the film was just as supsenseful as the book.

Comments

Earth Sign Mama said…
I read "Funny in Farsi" on a long plane ride and it was great! Another thing I enjoyed about it was a peek into the lives of the many Iranians I attended school with when I was enrolled at CSUN. So many of their parents moved to the US "temporarily" 30 years ago, and that mentality really affected how they raised their children--who've lived their entire lives in the US.
Mary said…
I LOVED the Elizabeth McCracken book. Thank you for suggesting/reviewing it. I am a member of her family tree.

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