Monthly Archives: April 2011

My Book(s) On The Side

The Book of JoeSo I decided that my next book from the list will be Richard Price’s Lush Life, but it will take me a few days to get a hold of it. In the meantime, I figured I might as well read something else and I’m going off list.

The book is Jonathan Tropper’s The Book of Joe. I bought this a while ago because I loved the author’s other book This Is Where I Leave You. Then Lauren told me that all of Tropper’s books are great and that she particularly liked The Book of Joe. I was sold. Since then it’s just sat on my bookshelf…until now.

But if we’re talking about my books on the side, I must also mention the audiobook I have going. I’m still listening to So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman and it’s getting pretty disturbing right about now.

So that’s my reading/listening/book-ish life right now!

The State of the List

State of the ListYesterday I mentioned being in a bit of a reading rut, which made me step back and take a look at my progress. Turns out I’m just over halfway through my mom’s list! When did that happen?

If I counted correctly, there are a total of 58 books on the list and I’ve read 32 of them. It’s taken me a little over a year to get here, though, so there could be another year left. But, as much as I speak of this “rut,” I’m nowhere near being tired of the project. So I’ve read the books that excited me the most already. I’m sure as I read the others I will discover new books that I would never have read but discover I love.

And, all of the books aside, what’s most important to me is how reading from my mom’s list lets me feel connected to her. Now, if we could only discuss the choices…

Next Up: Lush Life

Lush LifeI am announcing that Lush Life by Richard Price is the next book I’ll tackle in this project, but in reality I’m not convinced. I seem to be in a bit of a rut. I can’t decide what to read next and none of the books on the list are jumping out to me at the moment. I’m sure this is a temporary feeling.

In the meantime, I’m picking Lush Life and hoping it’s one I’ll get excited about as soon as I start it. I certainly should – it got great reviews and was picked as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Obama even brought Lush Life on vacation with him in 2009.

And now a little about the book:

Lush Life is a tale of two Lower East Sides: one a high-priced bohemia, the other a home to hardship, it’s residents pushed to the edges of their time-honored turf. When a cocky young hipster is shot to death by a street kid from the “other” lower east side, the crime ripples through every stratum of the city in this brilliant and kaleidiscopic portrait of the “new” New York.

A Review of The Chosen One

The Chosen OneThe good thing about young adult novels, or at least decent ones, is that you can speed right through them. I read The Chosen One in about two days and probably could have done it faster if I was a little less busy.

I was skeptical of Carol Lynch Williams’ novel about a young girl in a polygamous cult. But it didn’t take long for me to get hooked. The main character, Kyra, is only 14-years-old, yet it has just been mandated that she marry her 60-something-year-old uncle. Her family tries to help her, but the Prophet cannot be swayed. The only escapes from her situation are a secret romance and a love of reading. Books are banned but Kyra sneaks them in from a mobile library. How could I not get attached to a protagonist who loves books? And I’ll even admit that the story made my eyes tear up at least once.

While I enjoyed the book more than I thought I would like a young adult novel, I did think it ended too abruptly. It left me with many questions and unresolved issues. Couldn’t we have had one more chapter to tie things up a little better? Don’t young adults, or those masquerading as such, deserve that too?

I Saw Water For Elephants

Water for ElephantsJust as the title of this post indicates, I saw the movie Water for Elephants yesterday afternoon and I liked it.

It didn’t quite live up to the book, but how many movies do? There just wasn’t enough time to do justice to the plot. I felt like time was much more compressed, for instance in terms of the love affair, which made it less believable and less emotional. And while both Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon acted well, I’m still not sure I think they work as a couple.

Nevertheless, it reminded me why I liked the book so much. It’s such a great concept and kept me hooked.

Should Book Club Turn Into TV Club?

Jennifer EganThings are going well for Jennifer Egan these days. Her latest novel A Visit From The Goon Squad just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and now Deadline has reported that HBO will develop the book into a TV series.

It just so happens that A Visit From The Goon Squad is my book club’s pick this month. I’ve finished the book and I really liked it. Egan plays with time and format, though, so it will be really interesting to see how it translates to the small screen. Adapting a chapter told entirely through PowerPoint, for example, should be a nice little challenge.

If and when this show ever comes out my book club may have to have a viewing party. Then again, maybe I should wait and see how everyone else feels about the book first.

Let’s Talk Formatting

TypewriterI’m going to come right out and say it’s a slow news day here at Reading For Robin headquarters. But this has led me to notice the smaller things such as… the formatting on The Chosen One.

The lines of the book appear to be double spaced. This was  great trick back in high school when teachers specified the required length of a paper, but since then I’ve always had something against the way double spacing looks. However, now, in this one and only instance, I kind of like it. I’ve only read a little bit of the book, but I feel like I’m breezing through it!

I’m guessing the double spacing is a young adult novel thing. But it’s nice to feel young again, right?

(I’m not sure what a typewriter has to do with anything, but sometimes even picking images can be hard.)

Questioning My Mom’s Choices

The Chosen OneNow that the first two nights of Passover are behind me, I’m ready to move on from reading the Haggadah to reading novels again.

But as I get to The Chosen One, a young adult book about a polygamous cult, I can’t help but wonder (please pardon my Carrie Bradshaw moment) why my mom had this on her list. That’s not an indictment of the book at all – I haven’t even started it so I don’t have an opinion yet. It’s just that with many of the books on the list, I can sort of see my mom’s reasoning. There are authors she read before, genres she enjoyed, and the like. But my mom was not a Twihard or a Potterhead. As far as I know, she really didn’t read much young adult at all. So why The Chosen One? (And why King Dork as well?)

I’m sad I’ll never get to ask my mom why she picked the books she did, but I’m glad I can get this little peek into her reading choices.

Books Enter The Restaurant Realm

BrushstrokeWhen we’re not reading, Andrew and I love going out to eat. Okay, when I’m not reading, Andrew and I love going out to eat. Seeing as we are young and live in one of the most expensive cities in the U.S., we only hit up the best restaurants on special occasions, like when we went to Bouley for my birthday last year.

And speaking of Bouley, David Bouley is introducing a long anticipated new restaurant. Brushstroke features Japanese cuisine and is set to officially open on April 20. The New York Times and Gothamist both recently shared a preview of the restaurant and what caught my eye was not the food but the decor. Look closely at the picture above and you’ll notice that those are books! The walls in the bar/lounge are made of 12,000 recycled paperbacks. Which is why I can talk about it here on my book blog.

Maybe some occasion in the future will bring me to Brushstroke. But is it worth it if I’m more excited about the walls than the food?

(Photo via Gothamist)

Lisa See Is At It Again

Lisa SeeIt’s pretty clear at this point that my mom had a thing for Lisa See’s books. On her recommendation, I read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan a few years ago. Then she had both Shanghai Girls and Peony in Love on her list. So far I’ve only made it to Shanghai Girls.

Now there’s even more Lisa See to be had. GalleyCat reports that the author has scored a two-book deal with Random House. See’s Dream of Joy will be released on May 31st and picks up the story from Shanghai Girls.

I can’t keep up. So many Lisa See books so little time.