Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Double post: A Desirable Residence & Say the Word

I've been neglecting this thing ... hence, a double post.

1) A Desirable Residence, by Madeleine Wickham.

It must be nice in the summer, she thought, forgetting that this still was, to all intents and purposes, the summer. Her mind always worked at least half a term ahead.

Wickham is better known as Sophie Kinsella, the author of the "Shopaholic" series, of which I am a big fan. Her real name is apparently Madeleine Wickham, and there are a few books she wrote before her Kinsella years, such as this one. This was one of the earliest ones and it was fine, but I like her later novels much better. The 'voice' was completely different from that of her "Shopaholic" books; yes, this is still a chick lit novel, but it caters to a different crowd.

2.5 stars out of 5.

2) Say the Word, by Jeannine Garsee.

Normally I make a terrific hostess. I like to plan menus and select flowers for the centerpiece. I enjoy deciding which set of china will look best on our formal, twelve-foot-long table. This only shows you how desperately dull my life really is.

An interesting YA book. Shawna's mother, who left her and her father ten years ago, has just died, and secrets are starting to arise. The reason her mother left them was to be with her lover, Fran, and she and Fran raised Fran's two boys together. Her will, however, was never updated, and so Shawna's father gets everything; this forces Fran's family into almost-poverty and they move from New York to Cleveland Heights, where Shawna and her dad live, to stay with an aunt.

The book was pretty good. Shawna starts to question herself and the people around her, and Garsee does an excellent job of showing this as well as the consequences and fallout that occurs.

4 stars out of 5.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Her Fearful Symmetry

Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger.

The problem was located in the word how: he would live, but without Elspeth the flavour, the manner, the method of living were lost to him. He would have to relearn solitude.

This is the second novel by the author of The Time Traveler's Wife, which was recently made into a movie (sidenote: both the novel and movie were great), and thus I shouldn't have been surprised by its weirdness. The novel had many twists and turns, especially at the end, and it was a modern-day ghost story of sorts. It's definitely worth reading, but like I said, is very strange at parts (much like The Time Traveler's Wife, I suppose).

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Best Friends Forever

Best Friends Forever, by Jennifer Weiner.

If time was a dimension, and not a straight line, if you could look down through it like you were looking through water and it could ripple and shift, I was already opening the door. This had all already happened, the way it always did; the way it always would.

Weiner is the author of 7 novels, only one of which (In Her Shoes, which was made into a movie) I have previously read. This novel was excellent. The characters felt real, and the writing is simple but good. The ending was a little contrived but I do like endings where it all "works out", so in my opinion it was fine.

4 out of 5 stars.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Love or Something Like It

Love or Something Like It, by Deidre Shaw.

It occurred to me then that for the first time that we were getting older, that our pain and misfortune might not always be erasable, that our lives going forward might hold some disappointment, the adult kind, the kind that mattered.

I liked this novel a lot, probably because the narrator and main character, Lacey, seemed a lot like me, at least to an extent. She gets married and moves with her husband Toby to L.A., where he is a comedian. She tries to get into the Hollywood scene, and starts out as a writer's assistant, finally making her way up to script writer. And she encounters many trials and tribulations along the way. As one of the reviews of the novel says: "This book reads like the long-awaited letter from that friend of yours who decamped to L.A. a decade ago: newsy, funny, sad, triumphant" (Caitlin Macy).

4.5 stars out of 5.

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