First I’d like to start with a big Thank You! to Willis Carrier, who invented modern air-conditioning. Honestly I don’t know how people survived NYC summers before A/C.
It is just too damn hot.
Because of this we must think of something besides the heat. I was going to go with movies, but the list of movies I haven’t yet seen this summer is too long and annoys me, so instead I’ll go with books.
As in, those I have read this summer so far – I’m pushing summer back to the beginning of June and not to the actual beginning of summer on June 21.
The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George: I had high hopes for this Young Adult mystery, because George is an excellent write of murder mysteries, but she stumbled in her first YA attempt. Maybe she tried to bring down the level of suspense and, well…murder, to better “fit” younger readers, but instead the story had no oomph. The suspense dies (no pun intended) about half-way through, the “romance” isn’t, really, and the re-appearance of the bad guy doesn’t happen until the epilogue. The Epilogue? Seriously? That’s when you remembered that there is a psycho trying to find your main character? Horrible set up for what I can only assume will be a sequel; either that or it’s the worst ending of a book of all time.
Sorry Ms. George. I really, really love your Inspector Lynley mysteries.
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison: The purchase of this book was the result of a mild panic attack in the airport before our flight to Israel in May when I suddenly thought “But what if I don’t have enough books with me?!” (Yes, I was carrying my Nook so really that was a lame argument; a wifi connection anywhere and I could’ve downloaded emergency reading, but still…) Otherwise I would never have given it a second glance. A story about a guy who re-enters the job market by becoming a home care aid? To a boy with MS? AND who lost both his young kids in a tragic accident which he may or may not have caused? Normally that’s a big no thanks on my part. But in the glaring fluorescent light and limited selection of the airport bookshop, it was the best I could do.
And boy am I glad I did.
This is a fabulous book. Funny and weird and so out there that you can totally picture it in your mind. I loved it. I can’t summarize it. You’ll have to read it for yourself.
The Summer Without Men by Siri Hustvedt: I read What I Loved years ago. And loved it. But Ms. Hustvedt’s books take all of my concentration for some reason, and so I don’t read her regularly. Also, she’s married to Paul Auster and that dude writes stuff that is so scary I can’t read it. (The one book of his that I read gave me nightmares.) Not that her husband’s fiction should have any bearing on whether or not I read her books, but it does, for some reason.
Anyway…. I saw Summer Without Men at Barnes and Noble and then again at the library, so I took it as a sign and brought it home. I think I may have liked it even more than What I Loved. Married women and older women will enjoy it far more than younger women. It’s all about the secrets and burdens women keep and share – both when they are with and when they are without men. It’s lovely.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: Impulse checkout at the library, after reading a lot of buzz about the book that for some reason turned me off. But in the end the buzz was right. This is so well written that it took me two chapters to get over being jealous of the writing. Well written, great story, excellent ending. I will now be reading all of her other books.
In the Woods by Tana French: A friend recommended this book to me about two years ago, but when I read in the synopsis that a child abduction/murder was at the heart of the story I put it down. Parents of young children know what I’m talking about.
But I saw it at a used book shop a few weeks ago and bought it. Turns out I was able to read it, love it, and wonder why I was so squeamish about it before. Set in Ireland, by the way, which only raises it in my esteem.
Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum: Also recommended years ago and has been sitting on my bookshelf for, oh, maybe 3 years? WHAT WAS I WAITING FOR?! To be fair, I’m about 2/3 of the way through it, but so far it is breathtakingly fantastic. It’s the kind of book that makes me want to scream at the characters, but in a good “I can’t stand it until they know the truth!” kind of way. It takes place, alternately, in Nazi Germany and 1997 Minnesota and revolves around a mother and a daughter and their stories. Oh it is good.
So there you have it. Only one “thumbs down” in the group. Pick up one of the others if you are heading to the beach (or heading inside because it’s too hot at the beach). And if you are sitting in your nice, cool house or apartment, give a little thanks to Mr. Carrier as you open your book in comfort.