March/April Reading Update

14 May

It seems awfully early in the year to be wondering where time has gone, but such is the case with 2014. It’s seemed tremendously long already but at the same time has gone by far too quickly.

Anyway, I’ve been slacking on the book buying somewhat, which is probably good. I’ve also been slacking on the reading. Combining the last two months:

Books bought: 3 (I believe) (all in New Zealand)

Books read: 6

States/countries covered:  2 states, 3 countries + I repeated New York again

Total geography: 6 states, 5 countries

March’s reading list:

Life Would Be Perfect if I Lived in that House – Meghan Daum

Never Have I Ever – Katie Heaney

I’ll Seize the Day Tomorrow – Jonathan Goldstein

Paris vs. New York – Vahram Muratyan

April’s reading list:

Everybody Has Everything – Katrina Onstad

The Brightest Star in the Sky – Marian Keyes

Good reads? Pretty good reads.

Meghan Daum is a LA Times columnist, and I read her regularly. Her memoir is about belonging to the space you live in and working through her love affair with real estate. I want to be Meghan Daum’s friend — her writing style is smart, personable and relatable, and is a constant reminder that mine should be in a similar vein. While I don’t think friendship — or even paths crossing — is in the offing, I’ll put that out there for the universe to decide. I promise not to be a big slobbery fangirl if we ever meet.

If I were in my mid-twenties I might want to be friends with Katie Heaney. I thought I’d really like her collection of essays about being unlucky in love because my own dating life was pretty pathetic; however, I just wasn’t right there with her, so to speak. A decent read, but not what I wanted it to be.

My third memoir/book of essays for the month of March was from Jonathan Goldstein, and it’s a keeper. I loved his writing style. He made me laugh. He made really insightful observations about people and life, and he did in such a way that I could learn a thing or two about style and structure for my own writing.

I wasn’t quite sure whether or not to count Paris vs. New York because it’s more of an art/graphic book. It’s still a book though, and I’m counting it! [I will also count the Steve Martin tweets book my mother just sent me as a book, even though it doesn’t look like much of one. I need Texas!] I breezed through a copy on a friend’s coffee table and was really enchanted with the design and the concept of noticing little details. That’s one thing I like about traveling abroad — the tiny things that are different from home. This book made me happy…I might have to get my own copy someday.

In April, I read a couple of novels. Everybody Has Everything is about a couple who can’t conceive, yet friends of theirs are in a car accident and leave them guardianship of their son. It’s an interesting book about parenting and wanting to be a parent, and I’ve read it at probably the right time in my own life. I also liked the fact that this was set in Toronto, which is such a wonderful city, and I liked having enough knowledge of the city’s geography that I knew some of the places mentioned.

Lastly, I read a Marian Keyes novel. I like Keyes a lot, but this one was a bit of a slog. It takes place in one Dublin apartment building and follows all the various tenets of the building. I’ve read that when writing fiction, if you divide up the plot like that — tell three sides of the story, for example — you don’t have to write as much about each individual story, and when you’re done, you have a full book. Well, when you write about five or so stories, you have to say even less. It was difficult to get to know all of the characters, and some of their stories got a bit of the short shift. On top of that, there’s a conceit that’s supposed to tie the whole thing together, and it just didn’t work for me (I figured out what the conceit was inferring pretty early on, which also annoyed me — the surprise wasn’t really much of a surprise when it was revealed. I did enjoy some of the characters though and wished I’d gotten more of their stories. Ah, well. They can’t all be winners.

I didn’t read much during the last half of April, and May isn’t starting off so well either. Time to change that and schedule reading time. I’ve so enjoyed watching my spreadsheet fill in — it’s kind of like seeing your Goodreads finished shelf expand. And I’m slacking now. I’ll buckle down and get back to it. Onward and read-ward!

 

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