I just loved Just My Type, a thoroughly enjoyable romp through fonts and typefaces.
I also liked two family stories:
- The Boy in the Moon, the true and heartbreaking story of a severely handicapped boy and his dad’s quest to take care of him.
- We The Animals, a tight, harsh novel about three boys growing up with flawed parents, but parents who love them very much
and finally I recommend Poor Economics, a clinical look at how poor people behave with their finances — just like not-so-poor people, it turns out, minus the cushion of cash in the bank, which means any mistake can be fatal.
You all knew that 1Q84 was going to make it to this month’s list, since I already named it my book of the year, and potentially of the decade!Yes, it’s 900 pages long, yes, it’s fantasy, yes, it’s translated — and I loved it anyway.
The Buddha in the Attic is another favorite, with its delicate, evocative stories of Japanese picture brides in California.
I also liked Blood, Bones & Butter, an unconventional chef’s memoir, and Love and Shame and Love, a family saga that reads like a memoir.
This month, I loved
- The Family Fang, with its oddball set of characters and twisting plot
and I also liked
- Maphead, an entertaining look at geography and those who love it maybe a little too much
- Turn of Mind, a chilling tale of murder together with a stunning portrait of an Alzheimer’s victim
- Willpower, a fun but learned discussion of self-discipline and why it’s so hard to resist chocolate (or your favorite treat) when tired or upset
I did not care for Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s book and now she went and won herself a Nobel Peace Prize… How indelicate of me!
At least Stephanie Meyer did not win the Nobel Prize for literature. That would really bum me out.
It’s always a little difficult to choose books for the Books of the Month post,often simply because there are many good ones and surprisingly often because I simply forget the ones I read early in the month… Having refreshed my own memory by re-reading earlier posts, I recommend these four:
I guess I’ve been in a vacation mood this summer… as I realize I simply forgot to post the “Books of the Month” for July… and that’s not because the July reading list was disappointing. I found several gems including
- Little Bee, the stunningly told story of a Nigerian would-be refugee in the UK (don’t be put off by the grim subject matter, the first chapter is just about perfect)
- Art and Madness, a sobering memoir of life as a wife who should have a brilliant career of her own but cannot because it’s the sixties
The harvest his month was not good, hence the plethora of half-stars I used to try to distinguish the boring from the mediocre from the really bad… I will try not to use so many half-stars in the future; they are confusing and wishy-washy.
And with that, only three books of the month, each a little imperfect.
My favorite of the three is Spacesuit, which tells the story of how the heroic outfits of the Apollo astronauts were designed and made by the Playtex Corporation — and I think would be better if it stayed with that story without aiming to place it in too ambitious a context.
The other two are
- My New American Life, a light-hearted and lightweight story of an Albanian nanny with secrets. Good summertime reading.
- A Bittersweet Season, a surprisingly successful, if messy memoir cum advice on how to take care of aging relatives. The personal story is what grabbed me.
I read a lot of bad books this month, it seems — but the good ones were really good! Limiting myself to 4, once again, I recommend two uplifting books and two more somber ones:
- Triumph of the City – an upbeat, well-researched look at why cities work a lot better than we may think
- Getting Better – another upbeat but grounded assessment of the state of the world that does not shrink from exposing problems but also points out undeniable improvements in health and well-being just about everywhere
- Other People’s Money – a novel about the financial crisis, in which the guilty bankers live happily ever after, more or less
- Please Look After Mom – a melancholic story of a mom who sacrifices herself for her family but doesn’t get recognized for it, until it’s too late
It’s always interesting for me to look back and revisit the books I read over a month’s time. Some I barely remember — and not always the worst of the lot either!
This month, there’s one book I highly, highly recommend: You Know When the Men are Gone, a wonderful series of interconnected stories about an army base during Iraq deployments.
And here are three more I liked: