[Ed. note: I just realized that I didn’t hit publish on this post last week! So the weekend I’m referencing is in fact not this past one, but the one previous. This weekend I was in fact melting down in Georgia and Alabama.]
With such hot weather making anything but reading a sweat-inducing chore, I manged to get to a few books in the past days.
Last week, I started Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw. Love him or hate him, the man’s got an opinion on just about everything, something I respect. Medium Raw collects his musings on everything from fatherhood to controversial folks in the food industry. You’ve got to like a guy who gets so passionate about everything. It delivered exactly what I wanted, musings on food with occasional rants.
Another book I’ve been hearing booksellers rave about is Lily King’s Father of the Rain. They were right to rave! It’s an amazing exploration of the relationship between a daughter and her alcoholic father. Set in an upper middle class (read WASP) town outside of Boston, eleven-year-old Daley Amory watches her parents’ marriage falling apart. King really gets what it’s like to realize that your parents aren’t perfect and that they’re own troubles get in the way of being a parent. Even the mother has her own issues. It’s heart wrenching without being saccharine.
I love John Banville and I love Benjamin Black. They’re so different but so much the same. How interesting that they’re the same person! I read Elegy for April, Banville’s third crime novel set in 1950s Dublin in one clip. Quirke is fresh out of rehab and trying to forge a relationship with his daughter Phoebe. When she comes to him worried about a friend gone missing–the April of the title–he takes it upon himself to investigate. As the story unfolds, secrets come unburied and relationships change, as they do in Black’s series. Particularly appealing are the descriptions of Quirke learning to drive.
And finally I finished reading The Three Weissmans of Westport by Cathleen Schine. It’s been sitting on my shelf, with only 10 pages read, for months. I’ll admit when I first read the description, I thought “not my cup of tea”, but I was pleasantly surprised. Ignore all of the modern day Jewish Jane Austen stuff and just read it for what it is, a novel about a mother and her daughters going through a rough patch. Their decision to move in together is not one I would choose, but it’s a clever way to make the story more interesting. Schine excels with the descriptions of the various characters’ inner lives.
The Three Weissmans of Westport is very engaging indeed, I loved how Schine kept an optimistic tone throughout the book while describing the rough relationship the different characters were going through. I also appreciated the humorous moments she set throughout.
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