Friday, June 06, 2008

Book reviews

I've read a few books lately and I have no one to talk to about them so I'm going to review them here. They were all good, so I guess it's not so much a review as a description.

Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger - this was a good chicklit book. I went to her book signing/reading and almost finished the book the same night. It was entertaining, engrossing, and I didn't feel dumber and/or lamer for having read it. What more can you ask for from chicklit?

The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir
Good historical fiction. Alison Weir is a great non-fiction writer. She writes mainly British royal family non-fic but it's superb. This is her second fiction attempt and it's pretty good as well. There are a couple of sexy spots but I think that's to be expected. Because she's researched Elizabeth so much, she really brings a lot of authenticity to the work. You can read this and not feel like you're being sucked in by a sketchy basis in fact, at best, like The Other Boelyn Girl.

Eleanor of Aquitane by Alison Weir
This is a non-fiction book and if you're at all interested in Richard the Lionheart, British royal history, the Crusades, etc., you should read this book. I didn't really know who she was, to be honest, before I found her on wikipedia on one of my wild "I have to know more on this subject right now!" clicking frenzies, but I think she could be one of my new feminist icons. She's awesome. She was married to the French king, had a couple of furture queens, divorced him, married the English king, had a few more future kings and queens, planned a coup, went to prison, ruled through her sons, and all the while managed to maintain control of her own lands (most of present day France) as their pseudo-queen. And, like I said above, Alison Weir writes great non-fiction. She really keeps you engrossed in everything that's happening. It doesn't feel like non-fiction at all.

Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine
I've never been huge into graphic novels mainly because I don't know that much about them and not many of my friends read them. But this one was excellent. It's brief, which I liked for my first graphic novel try, and the story, although in cartoon form, is really believable. I read it shortly after I read one of Margaret Cho's books, and they both gave me a bit of insight into the modern, Asian-American culture. If you don't read any of the others one I suggest, read this one. I found this one on the NYTimes 100 best of 2007 list.

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
I think this is actually a novella, although I didn't count the pages or anything to be sure. I read Atonement along with the rest of America and I have to say I'm not the biggest McEwan fan. I'm not really sure why I picked this book up except that I'd read it on the NYTimes list as well. I'm glad I did. I honestly didn't think I was going to get a chance to read it before it was due back at the library, but I jumped at it on my lunch break the day it was due and finished it in an hour or so. I skipped a tiny bit (due to time) and if you read it you'll see where, but all in all, it was wonderful. I mean, it was horrible, the story, but the book was wonderful. I zoomed over to the McEwan website afterwards to see what others were saying about the book. I can't say much without giving it away but there are some subtleties in the story that are left to your imagination to determine if they actually happened. I was happy to find out I was right about most things and I learned a few more from other readers on that site. I guess it's been on several book club reading lists or something? I don't know but it's definitely one of those that leave you thinking when you put it down.

I have another stack of books I'm making my way through right now and I'm sure belabor the point and write more about them when I'm done. I'm a total spurt reader. I either read nothing or read everything I can get my hands on. Right now I'm reading - maybe it's the lack of good tv? Gossip Girl does make my brain a little numb...


The Nerdy Fashionista said...

ooooh! excellent! will add the weir books to my long list of shopping cart items on amazon... can always use a bit of nerdy historical writing in my life!

Material Lust said...

I'm definitely interested in reading some of these. But first I have to get through Ken Follett's "World Without End" (which I'm enjoying more than "Pillars of the Earth") and then it's on to the new David Sedaris book!