Tuesday, November 25, 2008

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

Seeing as to how this novel nearly parallel's the life and times of Laura Bush, it seems appropriate that I chose to read this at a time when President Bush's term is coming to a close. Sittenfeld never states outright that she is fictionalizing Laura Bush, but the comparisons are pretty damn close - small town Alice Lindgren, a smart and sensitive (and kind of uptight) school librarian, unexpectedly falls in love with Charlie Blackwell, a rowdy, goodnatured but slightly dim-witted guy who happens to be part of the very prominent Blackwell family. The two marry and Charlie goes on to make political history as President, bringing Alice along for the ride.
I found the book to be a very quick read and mostly enjoyable, and it was nice to see the evolution of Charlie and Alice's relationship as he becomes more and more famous, however, I couldn't get past the frequent sex scenes between the two. It's obvious the book is about Laura and George W. Bush and, no offense, I really have no desire to imagine them copulating. Other than that small issue, it was still a positive reading experience.
It's being reported that Laura's memoirs will be a hot commodity in the publishing realm after Bush's term is over. It'll be interesting to compare her narrative voice with Sittenfeld's.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Bodies Left Behind By Jeffrey Deaver

I usually like Deaver's books, but............ ok, I'll just say it,,,the book kinda bored me. I mean, how much drama can there be with a bunch of people running around in the dark? And the twists, well, there were a few confusing ones. Any time I have to flip back to earlier pages to see what the heck is going on, I can't be bothered. Now, I'm not saying it was bad just that it could have been better.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

So apparently I was the only member of the library staff that hadn't read this book. Despite my tendency to shy away from historical romances, after hearing everyone in the lunchroom discuss which actor would play which character, I decided to give this novel a shot. This is the 1st in a series.

It's 1945 and World War II had ended. While on a 2nd honeymoon, Claire accidentally stumbles onto an ancient ceremonial ground and gets sucked back in time to 18th century Scotland. While there, she crosses paths with a group of Scottish clansmen and is immediately whisked into their group. One of the members of this group includes Jamie, a big beefy outlaw with a price on his head. To save her life, Jamie must marry Claire and the rest, as they say, is history. What starts out as a mutual friendship evolves into a very passionate love affair. Will Claire make it back to 1945? Will she want to?

There's a lot of sex in this book, though it's never portrayed in a gross or graphic manner. But still, after awhile, I just wanted to throw a bucket of water on the two of them. Other than that, it was a pretty fast read, though the endless dialogue in Scottish brogue kind of wore on me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Serena by Ron Rash

I think if I were to re-title this book, I'd call it "Serena: the baddest bitch of the woods" (although that probably would offend a whole lot of people, but whatever). At any rate, this novel is about a young couple who run a timber business in North Carolina during the Great Depression. At first, no one really takes beautiful Serena or her ideas about business all that seriously. That swiftly changes as even her poor husband, George, becomes a pawn in her game. Before marrying Serena, George unintentionally impregnates a local girl, Rachel. After Serena cannot bear children, Rachel and her child are her next targets.

Overall, a very dark and menacing book. If you liked MacBeth, you'd probably like Serena. I think this book had the highest body count out of any book I've read in a long time, although most of the deaths are widely attributed to tree accidents.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron

Yeah yeah yeah, I know the joke probably writes itself - a librarian reviewing a book about a library cat on a library blog. However, I'm a sucker for a decent animal memoir, even though 9 times out of 10, the animal in question usually dies at the end. And so, because I really enjoyed Marley and Me, I decided to give Dewey a shot.
On a cold night in Iowa, some jerk dumps a poor kitten into a library book drop. The kitten survives the night and becomes adopted by the Spencer Public Library. Christened "Dewey Readmore Books," the cat goes on to attain celebrity status, all the while warming the hearts of patrons and staff. Yeah, it sounds hokey, but damn, was it a cute story. Though I wasn't a fan of Myron's writing style (about as bland as it gets - there's a reason why a lot librarians aren't professional writers)), her stories about Dewey climbing the shelves and begging food off of staff members were entertaining. And I feel stupid for saying this, but I was sobbing at the end of the book (you already know how it ends, don't you?)
So I guess I perpetuate the stereotype after all. Shut up.