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Search tags: read-other-books-by-this-author
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review 2017-05-31 01:53
Paper: Paging Through History
Paper: Paging Through History - Mark Kurlansky

This was my first Kurlansky book, but my husband has read and loved his others, (and still quotes from Salt), so you can appreciate that I would choose this just so I could throw some facts back at him. In any case, as a graphic designer and a book lover, of course I am a fan of Paper, so this book had my name written all over it. Kurlansky, I think, has a reputation like Michener — if he is going to tell the story of paper, he is pretty much going to start at the beginning of time and work from there. This is great if, like me, you have an almost unnatural devotion to paper, but I'm guessing this is probably not a huge target audience. Oddly enough, since I got the book from NetGalley, I read a book all about paper on an electronic device, which seems kind of thoughtless and uncaring. But I do care about paper. Maybe not as much as Kurlansky, but a lot.  

 

Veering off his topic, Kurlansky goes deeply into paper production techniques, the economies of mill towns, and all sorts of interesting bunny trails, but sometimes, this makes the almost 400-page book feel a bit longer. The paper industry was huge in my early career, so this book was nostalgic for me. There was a time when I would pray to be asked to design a paper sampler — an elaborate, no holds barred presentation used simply to show off the qualities of different types of paper to potential customers — because it offered complete freedom and exceptionally large budgets. But, like Kurlansky, I digress.

 

Here's the thing: Kurlansky is a master at choosing a subject and then letting it consume him. There is, I think, no stone left unturned here. If you're up for the challenge, this is your book.

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review 2017-03-28 03:27
You Know Me Well
You Know Me Well - Nina LaCour,David Levithan

I thought this book was well-written and the plot moved along at a brisk pace, but honestly, even considering the fact that I am not a YA reading this, I found it unrealistic. There is endless talking and pining for love in this story (I found all the over-analyzing more like college students than high school, but maybe that’s just me) and yay, it’s a story of so many under-represented gay teens, but aside from that, not a whole lot happens. Well, actually, a lot happens in the span of just a few days, but I didn’t find it very believable. Having said that, I will admit that I loved the banter between the friends — I found it smart and funny and the authors established a nice rapport among them; but it was all smart and funny, barely an awkward pause despite the fact that most of them had only just met. I mean I get the whole fast friends thing, but there was a lot of that here – not just one relationship.

 

LaCour and Levithan had their hearts in the right place, but I thought the story that unfolded had the potential to be so much more.

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review 2017-03-21 02:19
The Children
The Children: A Novel - Ann Leary

I chose this book from NetGalley because I loved Leary’s previous book, The Good House. While these books do not share a setting (though I think both could be Connecticut), they share a certain penchant for an oddball cast of characters, not always likable but always interesting. This is no easy task — for the most part these people are seriously flawed, or at the least, in serious denial about some of the realities of their lives.

 

The beauty of The Children is that Leary offers up a family that at first seems low-key and light on drama, only to reveal a dark edge, and deeply felt animosities among the “loving” members of this sprawling family. In a place where everyone seems to know everyone else’s business, there is remarkably little they really share. I think Leary has a gift for this type of character-driven story, where the plot is not nearly as compelling as the motley crew propelling it forward. They carry with them all manner of secrets – some more obvious than others – but regardless of this you will want to stick around to see how it all works out in the sometimes-bitter end.

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review 2017-03-01 04:22
The Fifth Petal
The Fifth Petal: A Novel - Brunonia Barry

You know what I like reading about almost as much as plagues? Witches. I loved Brunonia Barry’s first book, The Lace Reader, so much that when I saw another book was coming out, I jumped on it. I am not generally a series reader, though I will often read the first one in a series and nothing else (yes, I’m a quitter, I admit it.) But Barry sucked me in last time, so this time I was a willing victim. I completely believed her tales about the lace readers, and honestly, I was stunned that she made everything up (sorry, spoiler alert). I was completely convinced, and I am telling you that so when she tricks you with her voluminous knowledge of old Salem and throws in a bunch of hooky, you will not feel bad like I did. You’re welcome.

 

So anyway, here’s what you need to know. Read this book. There is high drama, grave danger, horrible childhoods that need to be redeemed and reclaimed and also, witches. Did I mention that? What could be better? Nothing. It takes place in Salem and surrounding areas, so of course there are witches. There are also regular people, unfortunately, with all kinds of unmanageable, overwhelming problems. There are bad characters I kind of liked, and good ones who do the wrong thing, so basically, it’s perfectly balanced. And don’t worry if you didn’t read the first one – this one stands alone just fine. (But I’d read The Lace Reader anyway, because really, aren’t you better than that?)

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review 2017-02-12 03:52
Fates and Furies
Fates and Furies: A Novel - Lauren Groff

Can't just add this to the read pile without a quick note: I am a fan of Lauren Groff, so this book was one in a string of her books for me - I listened to some of this but then I remembered the giant chunk of a book I already had on my shelf, hardcover, enormous, and I had to prop it on my lap and read the rest myself. Groff's writing, with its odd assortment of characters and warped perspectives reminds me of John Irving and everything I love about his writing. Messy and strange, but ultimately compelling and satisfying.

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