Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bacchus and Me: Adventures in the Wine Cellar Bacchus and Me: Adventures in the Wine Cellar by Jay McInerney

I might have enjoyed this book more had I known even a little, tiny, eensy-weensy bit about French wine. Reading it, I felt like the foreign exchange student who wants to get the jokes, and laughs along when everyone else laughs, just so she won't appear like she's not understanding a darn thing that's happening and why in hell everyone else is laughing. In reality, though, nothing makes sense and she just feels awkward, a little bored and ready for the evening to be over so she can just go home and watch dvd's in her native language.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Water Witches Water Witches by Chris Bohjalian
Surprise, surprise, another Bohjalian novel set in Vermont with a trial and a lawyer with a conflict between his job and his conscience, a strong group of women with unusual occupations and an adorable, highly gifted daughter. Hmmm. Why do I keep reading his books? I suppose because he's a really good story teller and in these days of facts and figures and "reality", we all need a good story just for it's own sake.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

B Is for Beer B Is for Beer by Tom Robbins

B is for Beer is a fairy tale about beer; two things I have great fondness for. I love the idea of fairies and magic and happily ever afters. I also love beer. That said, this book was a win-win for this reader. Yes, the humor is a forced clever in a Lake Wobegon, NPR sort of way, but that shouldn't be an issue if you are choosing to read a book called B is for Beer, whose main characters are a 6 year old girl, her philosopher uncle and the Beer Fairy.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Too Much Tuscan Sun: Confessions of a Chianti Tour Guide (Insiders' Guides) Too Much Tuscan Sun: Confessions of a Chianti Tour Guide by Dario Castagno

What a fun book! I would love to go to Tuscany, simply to eat the meals Castagno describes, but might hesitate booking him as a tour guide for fear of ending up in his next book. I think I just want to be his friend.

For better or worse, this book reminds me of a joke my kids used to tell:

What do you call a person who speaks three languages? Trilingual
What do you call a person who speaks two languages? Bilingual
What do you call a person who speaks one language? American

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Plum Wine Plum Wine by Angela Davis-Gardner

Even though this book was written in 2006, it had such an old-fashioned feel to it that I had to keep checking the publishing info to make sure I had read it correctly.

The story of an American professor at a Women's College in Tokyo during the Vietnam War who inherits chest from her recently deceased close friend and colleague. From the contents of the chest and the man who helps her unlock the secrets, she learns of a Japan she had no idea existed.

The only think keeping me from really liking this book was the characterization of the main characters. They seemed so flat, as if the author sacrificed depth in hopes of maintaining the ultra-polite tenor of the time and place.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Back from vacation with three new books!

Fool: A Novel Fool: A Novel by Christopher Moore

A little more convoluted than I needed this summer. But man, oh, man can Moore turn a phrase!!! Some funny stuff. Knowing the story of King Lear is more than a little helpful though. I should have paid more attention in college.

Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America by Steve Almond

One word: SWEET! I especially liked the chapter on one of my favorite candies of all time, Twin Bings. I may never look at the candy aisle of my local 7-11 the same way again.

Water for Elephants Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

I don't normally like circuses. I've never even taken my kids to one, I wonder if I should just add money to the therapy fund right now? But this book? This book I liked. I still don't like circuses. Clowns freak me out. It turns out that the early shows treated the people just as badly as they treated the animals. A great story though. Oh, and elephants are way smarter than they let on.