I have read a whole shelf-full of books lately that I found severely unimpressive. But I've developed a superstition that it's bad karma for me to say negative things about authors in writing. This is the same reason that I don't make fun of rich people. Because one day I hope to be one.
So I won't write the negative reviews here, but if you will ask me in person I will tell you the truth. Because I believe in truth. It's a wonky moral code, I know, but the best I can do is to abide by it. What sort of people are we if we can't abide by our own morals? Either improve your behavior or lower your standards. That's all I'm saying.
TRUE GRIT, Charles Portis
A serious gem. I am so thankful to the Cohen brothers for making the movie I still want to see. If they hadn't done that, I can guarantee I never would have read the book. And I'm so glad I did. Mattie Ross and Rooster Cogburn are heroes for the ages. The book was funny, which surprised me--really funny--and the storytelling straightforward and deceptively simple. I've seen the young woman paired with old man deal before (Heidi, Annie, The Professional, The Reapers are the Angels, I know there are more) but this was the most enjoyable rendition of that particular character match-up I've found to date. Mattie is prim, unflinching, and she means business. Rooster is a drunken old cowboy with curious morals. LaBeouf, the old charmer! A satisfyingly scandalous Texas ranger. I really, really loved this book. I plan to buy me a copy. Right quick.
It might interest you to know that Roald Dahl loved it too. Or maybe it won't. I couldn't say.
A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD, Jennifer Egan
The most enjoyable Pulitzer winner I have ever read. I particularly enjoyed the section that was a power-point journal entry from an eleven-year-old girl. Egan is playing with the form of the novel here, and the result is fantastic. Every book I've tried to read since has struck me as unbearably old-fashioned. Except, of course, for True Grit. Which was marvelous.
I am Vesuvius and I have had little luck with YA dystopians these days. And I shall tempt fate no further.
Bonus Gem: How could I have forgotten Bossypants? I died laughing. Tina Fey is my idol. Her personality reminds me a lot of mine. For instance: we both dislike cruises and agree on the importance of being the first in line at the infirmary. Other uncanny coincidences: chin acne. Daughters who want to be saved by princes,despite our attempts at feminism. Neither one of us, in Tina's words here, chose to love our children enough to breast feed them for more than two days. Familiarity with the movie 'Baby's Day Out'.
Seriously, I laughed so hard I died. I'm in heaven now. Here comes Jensen Ackles with the cakepops. Later, nerds.