It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10.0

Hey-o! Happy Monday everyone! Good news–I’ve finished a couple of books recently, so I can actually participate in this meme this week 🙂

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Last week I finished:

bonfire-of-the-vanities

Synopsis adapted from Goodreads:

Tom Wolfe’s modern American satire tells the story of Sherman McCoy, a Wall Street “Master of the Universe” who has it all — a Park Avenue apartment, a job that brings wealth, power and prestige, a beautiful wife, an even more beautiful mistress.

Suddenly, one wrong turn makes it all go wrong, and Sherman spirals downward in a sudden fall from grace that sucks him into the ravenous heart of a New York City gone mad during the go-go, racially turbulent, socially hilarious 1980s.

Oh Tom Wolfe! After reading I am Charlotte Simmons I knew sort of what to expect: gritty, dense language, long sentences, and characters who are very real and also very difficult to love. The Bonfire of the Vanities (BOV) did not disappoint me in any of these expectations.

The main character, Sherman McCoy, is everything we love to hate about Wall Street–rich, arrogant, and basically without a conscious. For most of the novel I borderline hated the guy and felt like he deserved everything that was happening to him, but by the end of the novel I felt sort of sorry for him. I never grew to love him or any of the characters in the novel, nor do I think I was supposed to. Despite that, I really did appreciate the degree of realism Wolfe instills in each character…even if it is a dark side. I also like the exploration of the self in Wolfe novels. Frequently the main character loses himself or herself along the way (as did Charlotte in Charlotte Simmons and Sherman in BOV) and reemerges as something else entirely. Some authors might try to soften a character by having them reemerge at the end as someone good, or at least something close to what they were. Not Wolfe–he very realistically shows how events can shape us into someone new, even if that someone isn’t very likable. It may not leave the reader with a warm and fuzzy feeling at the end, but it is honest.

I’m glad I read BOV, even if I didn’t always enjoy it. I appreciated Wolfe’s characters, and the re-creation of New York City in the 1980’s. At times, it was hard to believe the story was set nearly 30 years ago as many of the issues it touched on are still very relevant today. 4/5 stars.

persuasion

Synopsis adapted from Goodreads:

Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen’s most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne’s family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?

Jane Austen once compared her writing to painting on a little bit of ivory, 2 inches square. Readers of Persuasion will discover that neither her skill for delicate, ironic observations on social custom, love, and marriage nor her ability to apply a sharp focus lens to English manners and morals has deserted her in her final finished work.

I’ll admit I read this book with a bit of bittersweet pleasure. I’ve loved Jane Austen’s books my whole reading life, and this was the last one I’d ever get to read for the first time. I loved it. The story moved quickly, and I really loved both Anne and Fredrick. I also thoroughly enjoyed the side stories. 5/5 stars.

dadisfat

Synopsis adapted from Goodreads:

In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald’s, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children—everything from cousins (“celebrities for little kids”) to toddlers’ communication skills (“they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news”), to the eating habits of four year olds (“there is no difference between a four year old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor”). Reminiscent of Bill Cosby’s Fatherhood, Dad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home.

I love Jim Gaffigan’s stand-up comedy, so I was excited to see he had written a book. I patiently waited in the library queue (it was highly requested book last month) and pounced when it was finally my turn to check it out. It was almost everything I could have asked for. It was sharp and funny (like JG’s stand-up), and a very fast read for me. Even though I don’t have children, I could relate to some of the situations he describes from my own experiences with my family and other adults I know with children.

If I were to be a bit nit picky (and since I’m a book blogger I feel like this is expected), I would say the chapters were a little on the short side. Frequently he has the beginnings of a great tale, but then fails to follow it up with any kind insight or meaning. Yes, they were all VERY funny but there were many times he left me wanting more. Also (another nit picky thing), I recognized many funny one-liners as bits from his stand-up routines. Again not a huge deal–I just found that it would jar me out of whatever anecdote he was telling as I recalled that I heard that line from somewhere before…

Overall great, fast read–especially if you are a fan. I recommend getting the audiobook version if you can since it’s narrated by Jim himself! 3.5/5 stars

This week I am reading:

waterforelephants

Synopsis adapted from Goodreads:

Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski’s ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell.

Jacob was there because his luck had run out—orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive “ship of fools.” It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn’t have an act—in fact, she couldn’t even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.

Yes I know–I’m the last person to the party with this book. Heck they’ve even made a movie out of it already! Regardless, I am really enjoying it so far. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a novel about a circus before!

This week I am listening to:

enchantedlifeofadamhope

Synopsis adapted from Goodreads:

The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope is an unconventional and passionately romantic love story that is as breathtaking and wondrous as The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.

During WWII, teenager Evelyn Roe is sent to manage the family farm in rural North Carolina, where she finds what she takes to be a badly burned soldier on their property. She rescues him, and it quickly becomes clear he is not a man…and not one of us. The rescued body recovers at an unnatural speed, and just as fast, Evelyn and Adam fall deeply in love. In The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope, Rhonda Riley reveals the exhilarating, terrifying mystery inherent in all relationships: No matter how deeply we love someone, and no matter how much we will sacrifice for them, we can only know them so well…

I started this book a few days ago and I’m zipping right through it. It’s unique and fantastical, yet also very grounded in everyday life. Evelyn is a great character and I’m excited to see where this book goes!

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What are you reading this week?

It's Monday

Linking up with Book Journey!

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kristen H. (@bookgoil)
    Aug 05, 2013 @ 15:42:37

    Water for Elephants is one of my favorite adult books, so I hope you enjoy it. Such a magical story!

    Here’s what we’re reading…

    Reply

  2. Lindsey
    Aug 05, 2013 @ 15:49:08

    I keep picking up Water for Elephants, but it just never convinces me to take it home. I hope you love the rest of it!

    Reply

  3. Trackback: My 2013 Reading Challenges: How Did I Do? | Ex Libris

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