May 2011 Recap

Whoa–June already?! I swear I say it every month, but May went by so quickly.  I had a great month reading wise, with a whopping total of 14 books read.  That is a lot more than usual for me, and part of that total is thanks to a week long vacation where I spent reading by the pool.

Here is what I read.

*The Beautiful Cigar Girl, Daniel Stashower

*What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal, Zoe Heller

*Lady Susan, Jane Austen

*When Will There be Good News?, Kate Atkinson

*Wigs on the Green, Nancy Mitford

*Housekeeping vs the Dirt, Nick Hornby

*Shakespeare Wrote for Money, Nick Hornby

*Lies Chelsea Handler Told Me, Chelsea Handler

*Bumped, Megan McCafferty

*Song for Katya, Kevin Stevens

*Crooked Crooked Letter, Tom Franklin

*Affinity, Sarah Waters

*Summer Sisters, Judy Blume

*Gourmet Rhapsody, Muriel Barbery

I would say that Affinity and Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter were by far my favorites. Oh, and What was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal. Plus the Nick Hornby books! Hopefully I can keep up my luck and continue choosing really great books to read.

How was May for everyone else?

Book Review: When Will There be Good News?

When Will There be Good News?

Kate Atkinson

Little, Brown and Company

400 pages

Joanna Hunter seems to have it all.  She is a successful doctor with a handsome husband and a baby son that she adores more than anything. She is hiding a dark secret, however; Joanna was the only survivor of a brutal attack as a child that resulted in the deaths of her mother, sister, brother, and even dog.  The killer has just been released from prison when all of a sudden Joanna disappears.  Her babysitter, Reggie (Regina) is a precocious teenager who is instantly suspicious and nervous about Joanna’s disappearance, despite the assurances of Joanna’s husband that she is only visiting a sick relative.

Throw in a bunch of crazy situations in Reggie’s life, along with the appearance of PI Jackson Brodie, and you have a story full of all kinds of twists and turns. It would generally be the type of book I would be all over.  My appetite for literary mysteries tends to be insatiable. When Will There be Good News? feel flat for me though.  The characters seemed two dimensional to me, and I did not feel that any of them were very realistic.  Add to that a bunch of unbelievable situations and it just ruined it for me.

The one aspect of the book that did end up drawing me in was the unrequited love between Jackson and Louise, whom he had worked with previously and I believe appears in the other Jackson Brodie books.  Louise was the one character that I really cared about.  She was realistic, albeit infuriating, and the way she jerked her husband around angered me.  Then you have Jackson, who is also a newlywed.  Both he and Louise hid behind their new marriages and refused to acknowledge their feelings for one another.  I am sure that is to create suspense but really . . . I just wanted them to both stop being so passive aggressive.

As it stands, I can’t say whether or not I will read more from Atkinson.  Her most recent books sounds pretty good, but I am skeptical as this one really let me down.

Other Reviews:

Rhapsody in Books


Shelf Love

Farm Lane Book Blog

S Krishna’s Books

I purchased this book from Barnes & Noble.

BEA loot #2

I have already been to Half Price Books twice this week, but as Trish and Erin reminded me, this weekend is their annual Memorial Day sale, with everything in the store being 20% off.  With that type of incentive, how could I resist?

As is always the case when it comes to spending money on books, I was pretty successful.

Incendiary, Chris Cleave: I have Little Bee, but I haven’t cracked it open yet. Usually I would try not to buy a second book by an author if I have yet to read the book I already own, just to insure that I like the writing style, but this time I figured what the heck.

Smart Women, by Judy Blume: Earlier this week I bought another of Blume’s adult books, Summer Sisters, and I have already read it.  Once I read this one, I am fairly sure I will have read Blume’s entire canon.

The Journal of Dora Damage, by Belinda Starling: I can’t remember which blog it was, but I read a great review of this book a few months ago and it’s been on my TBR list ever since.

The Painted Veil, W Somerset Maugham: I have On Human Bondage but haven’t yet read it.  I picked this one up because I have seen some good reviews for it around, especially this one from The Zen Leaf.

The Virgin Blue, Tracy Chevalier: Chevalier’s books are usually a hit with me, so this one was a no brainer.

A Novel Bookstore, Laurence Cosse: I won’t lie–I bought this one solely due to the fact that it was published by Europa.

Zeitoun, Dave Eggers: My sister was reading this one on our vacation last week.  I have had my eye on it for awhile, but she is the one that finally convinced me to go for it.

Zeroville, Steve Erickson: Again, another Europa.  The book flap really intrigued me; “It is an August afternoon in 1969. A hippie “family” led by Charles Manson commits five savage murders in the canyons above LA.” I didn’t even need to read more. I was hooked at “Charles Manson”. I’ll let you in on a little secret–I have a creepy fascination with the Manson Family.  Helter Skelter is one of my all time favorite books.

Remarkable Creatures, Tracy Chevalier: Again, I like Chevalier.  I have wanted to read this one since it was published, but just hadn’t purchased it yet.

A Gate at the Stairs, Lorrie Moore: “The best American writer of her generation”, Nick Hornby.  If she’s that revered by Hornby, I definitely want to give her a shot.

So that’s it.  I am all shopped out and I can’t justify anymore spending.  Was I the only one who who used my absence at BEA to justify book buying?

Armchair BEA: Best of 2011

I know I am late to the game, but I have had a busy day and am now only just settling down! I was very excited to see that today’s question for Armchair BEA is to name my favorite books of 2011 so far.  I feel like I have been having a great year so far inasmuch that I have had so many favorites in just five months, although none of them were actually published in 2011. I can only hope that I have the same good luck for the rest of the year!

Please share with me what your favorites of the year have been!

BEA loot

As I mentioned in my last post, I had hoped to go to Half Price Books today.  Basically, I wanted to assuage my disappoint of not being at BEA by buying books.  I don’t know about you, but shopping always makes me feel better, especially if it’s books I am shopping for.  Although I was a tad bit rushed by my grumpy husband who was whining for his lunch, I was very successful.  I got 10 books for $28, which made me feel very proud of myself!

Summer Sisters, Judy Blume: I am pretty sure this is the only Judy Blume book that I haven’t read.  I love her books, so I am sure I will love this one.

High Fidelity, Nick Hornby: My boss recommended this one, so I thought I would give Hornby’s fiction another chance. I absolutely love his column “Stuff I’ve Been Reading” from the literary magazine The Believer, so I want to like it!

Veronica, Mary Gaitskill:  This was a random purchase. I just saw it and thought “why not?”.

The Moonflower Vine, Jetta Carlton: I borrowed this one from the library a few months back and had to return it unread.  I know it is about four sisters, and since I am one of four sisters, it called out to me.

And Then We Came to the End, Joshua Ferris: I have wanted to read this one for a long time.  I think it sounds funny.

I got these five books for $1 apiece.  I couldn’t pass up such great bargains!

Eve, Elissa Elliott: I have had my eye on this one for awhile but I was afraid I would be disappointed, because I am expecting it to be like The Red Tent, which is one of my favorite books, and I suspect it won’t live up to that. At such a good price though, I had to give it a shot.

Life Sentences, Laura Lippman: I am a huge fan of Lippman and this is one of her standalone books that I haven’t read, so it was a no brainer.

The Worst Intentions, Alessandro Piperno: I am pretty sure Europa is the one publisher that I seek out (oh wait–Persephone too).  I wouldn’t have bought this book had I not noticed the Europa insignia, but it sounds really good!

Hideous Kinkiy, Esther Freud: I have had this one on my mental TBR pile for years!

Election, Tom Perotta: Perotta is one of those authors I have been meaning to read for years, but so far I have only read The Abstinence Teacher.

Is anyone else planning on going book shopping to make up for the fact that you’re not at BEA?

Welcome to my Blog!

Today kicks off the first day of Armchair BEA. It is a week of fun filled blog activities for those of us not lucky enough to actually go to BEA. Sigh . . . maybe next year.

So the point of this post is mostly to introduce myself and let you know my plans for Armchair BEA.

My name is Stephanie and I am a twenty-seven year old bookworm (duh!).  I was born and raised in Columbus and I have never left.  I have been married to my husband Brian for a year and I am stepmother to his eleven year old daughter Ally.  I work part time for a company called Lush.

It is an awesome, ethically minded company that offers fresh skincare, haircare and bath and body stuff.  I absolutely love my job and it gives me an excuse to buy a lot of bath bombs.  There is nothing I love more than a hot bath and a good book!

As for my plans for Armchair BEA, I don’t really have anything solidified, although I am going to Half Price Books later to browse around.  I suppose Armchair BEA is my excuse for that! I do hope to be introduced to some new blogs though. For those of you that are new to my blog, welcome!–I hope we get to know one another better!

Me with my husband and stepdaughter