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Ongoing reading July 17, 2009

Posted by Sandy in Uncategorized.

Well. I was going to start with an admission that I never end up reading the books I plan to read during the summer. Then, I looked at the list I came up with a couple of weeks ago and realized I’ve already read two of the books on that list–yay, me!

So, here are some highlights from my summer reading so far:

The Family Man, by Elinor Lipman: I read The Inn at Lake Devine years ago and loved it. I’ve only read one other of Lipman’s novels, but I’ve always thought of her as an author I could count on for a good read. I was lucky enough to meet Elinor, briefly, at a bookseller/author event in Brattleboro last month, and got a signed copy of her latest. The Family Man is all about mending relationships, featuring a reunion between a middle-aged gay man and his long-lost ex-stepdaughter. Mild highjinks ensue, and I found it to be a quick, delightful story– perfect weekend fare.

Someone Knows My Name, by Lawrence Hill: This was recommended to me by several customers, and I finally picked up the thick book, thinking that I may not get through it before being distracted by something new. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It is a long novel, but the plot is deeply engaging, and the narrator — a woman who was kidnapped from her village in Africa as a child and sold into slavery towards the end of British rule in America — is a strong, memorable character.

Along for the Ride, by Sarah Dessen: When I was in high school and college, I was a sucker for girly romances, and I still can’t resist them from time to time. I picked up Sarah Dessen’s latest because I know she’s a popular writer, and I wanted to check out an alternative to the paranormal romances that are flying off our shelves these days. Nothing against those books — I love  fantasy — but sometimes you just want a story about normal people with normal problems, and for that, Along for the Ride was perfect.

Andromeda Klein, by Frank Portman (coming in August): I’m going to admit that there’s a lot I skipped in this book–Andromeda sees the world as it relates to her obsession with  obscure magical knowledge, which I found to be somewhat confusing. No matter what I might have missed in her analysis of sigils, spells, and symbols, I adore Andromeda. She’s a loner, an introvert, and doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere; she talks to her cat (even when he’s not there, so, really, she’s talking to herself a lot of the time); a rare bone disorder affects her hearing, so her vocabulary is peppered with misheard phrases that she’s adopted as stand-ins for the real thing (for example, Spinach U-Turn = Finnish Lutheran). The book is funny and bizarre and wonderful. Portman writes honestly and unapologetically about the life of a teenager who — no matter how odd she might be — is just like every other teenager, wondering, “What’s the point of all this?”


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