Lots of books read this week.
Library book box: Empty!
Finished this week:
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – A classic book whose easy-to-remember aphorisms are pretty widespread. Although this was my first time reading this book, I’ve heard or read many of the principles in marriage conferences and self-improvement books and blogs. I appreciated the author’s consistent stance that these are not “tricks” for manipulating people, but ways to express a genuine interest in the other person. You can read a more detailed review on The Simple Dollar, which is where I first jotted down the title.
Wild at Heart by John Eldredge – I finally blazed through this book last weekend after having it in my book box for months and months. This book is a popular Christian “man” book with a thesis that men don’t want to be “nice guys,” they are bored and long for real adventure, which can only be found in God. Maybe I skimmed the book too quickly, but the “God” part seemed secondary or even lost in the many anecdotes of outdoor adventures and man-movies (including an extended quote from my favorite scene of Gladiator), so I was a bit unclear as to what being a real man would look like in the context of real life and spirituality apart from going on crazy backpacking trips and mountain climbing. This confusion only marginally occupied me as I’m a girl and I’m not trying to be a “real man.” 🙂 In any case, I read this book because my husband felt that the first part of the book resonated with his experience, so I was glad I had the chance to understand him a little better.
Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott – I borrowed this book from a friend, on the recommendation of another friend who thought I should read it because “Anne Lamott compares her conversion experience to being adopted by a cat — and you were adopted by a cat!” So the cat part ended up being one short paragraph, but I found myself drawn into the sometimes “irreverent” (as the back cover put it), always authentic snapshots of this woman’s spiritual journey to and into faith, albeit sprinkled with colorful language and situations.
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck – I got this in a book exchange back in December and finally read it. Typically I don’t “get” classics, but I found this one enjoyable for the colorful characters and humorous situations. Don’t ask me about themes or character development or anything like that, though!
Jane Austen in Boca and Jane Austen in Scarsdale by Paula Marantz Cohen – Anything with Jane Austen in the title is likely to get my attention. These two books are, in the vein of Clueless, modern chick-lit retellings of Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. Pride and Prejudice is set against the background of a retirement community in Boca Raton with widowers and older folks as the main characters; Persuasion is retold in the context of a high-school guidance counselor with a formerly rich high-class family who runs into the man she rejected years ago (and has regretted ever since, of course) — but who is now engaged. Fun, quick reads, although I still like the originals better.
Don’t Look Down by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer – I didn’t catch the clues about this book, unfortunately, although “sizzling romance” referenced on the front flap of the book jacket should have clued me in that this “novel” was really a bodice-ripper disguised as popular chick-lit. I don’t appreciate gratuitous sex scenes in movies or books… and that’s all I have to say about this one.
With a bookmark:
(Books I just started reading, or books I’ve been “reading” for ages. Most recent first.)
- Miles Errant by Lois McMaster Bujold
- The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst
- A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson
- Miles Errant by Lois McMaster Bujold – This is a compilation of two books and a short story. The short story, Borders of Infinity, is one I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to track down until now and read for the first time this morning. Brothers in Arms and Mirror Dance also continue the Miles Vorkosigan series. I now finally have all the books and short stories in the series! I already have Brothers in Arms, and was annoyed that this book is the large paperback size and so won’t fit neatly with my other small paperbacks, but Mirror Dance is out of print and I finally had to accept that. I haven’t read Mirror Dance since I first read it years ago, so I’m excited to re-read it.
- The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner – I read this recently but now I own the paperback, which completes the trilogy (The Thief, Queen of Attolia, and King). I would advise reading them in order and to be patient with the sometimes-slow plot line, because the end is well worth it.
- Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith – This activity book for kids or adults was mentioned on diyplanner.com and looked really, really fun. A creativity-stimulator, the book has instructions which are “open to interpretation” which encourage you to deface, smear, write, tear, and otherwise wreck the sturdy pages of this book. I’ve already started!
Back to the library:
- 54 by Wu Ming – This book is actually written by a group of Italians who write as “anonymous,” or Wu Ming (in Mandarin). I think this book is supposed to be a thriller with lots of different plot lines intersecting at the end as well as some kind of social commentary, but I didn’t have the patience to get through the first chapter. I guess I’m not part of the “braniac” audience that this book is meant for. (If you’ve read it and think it’s great, maybe I’ll give it a second shot.)