Mr. Bookdwarf reads almost as much as I do and wanted me to share some short reviews:
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender: I loved Bender’s previous novel An Invisible Sign of My Own but in this one, she’s really come into her own. It’s an absolutely compelling story of a girl growing into an upsetting and uncanny talent of tasting the emotions of the people preparing the food she eats. Her mother’s unfulfilled and lonely; her brother is furious; her friend’s mom really is as enviably good as she seems. How she eventually learns to deal with her abilities, and the way in which the rest of her family fails to manage their own oddities, is both heartbreaking and beautiful.
How Did You Get This Number? by Sloane Crosley: Sloane Crosley is the nonfiction essayist for the Tina Fey generation. Smart? Very. But also so severely dyslexic she can’t read a clock even in her twenties, and willing to document in self-deprecating detail how far she’ll go to hide it from everyone else. Canny? Of course. But not so wise that she doesn’t believe every lie she tells herself, at least for awhile. The sharp edges of her humor seem to suggest that laughter is really more of a coping mechanism, just barely preferable to binge drinking, pilates, and serial homicide.