A Review of The Thin Place

The Thin PlaceIt’s taken me a while to write this review of The Thin Place not because I have been putting it off but rather because it’s taken me a while to read The Thin Place.

Unfortunately, Kathryn Davis’ novel is one of my least favorite I’ve read from my mom’s list. It didn’t help that I read such short sections at a time that I frequently lost track of who was who and what was happening. But more than that I think my problem with the book is just that it is a little too out there for me. Chapters would jump around from plot to the thoughts of various animals to reflections on nature. I get that the author was trying to make the point about how all of the universe is connected and the line between life and not life is a “thin place,” but I am too much of a concrete person for these asides to mean much to me.

As I often do, I wonder what my mom would have thought of this book. And that is the one downside of being done with The Thin Place. It means that there is only one book left on the list. And while I am excited to complete this undertaking, I think it will be a little sad to be done.

However, that does mean that I will get back to reading books of my choice (or really, probably, more books for work). So at least hopefully that means I will be reading faster and more.

Listening That Will Affect My Eating?

Salt Sugar FatI have finally gotten around to choosing a new audiobook and everyone who comes in contact with me regularly should be afraid.

That’s because I’ve decided to listen to Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss and read by Scott Brick. It’s basically this big expose of the processed food industry and how they have used salt, sugar, and fat to make us addicted to their products (and thus cause an obesity epidemic).

This is not at all my usual read, but I heard about it somewhere and I became determined to listen to it. It’s funny because I am not a health nut nor am I all that concerned about processed foods… though I have a feeling I will be soon. I am just a sucker for an audiobook that sounds like it will teach me really interesting things without boring me (see also: Born to Run).

The thing is, I’m a little nervous. I am worried it will make me want to change all my eating habits. Which, okay, is maybe not the worst thing in the world. Except for poor Andrew who will probably suffer the consequences. I am also afraid I will be telling everyone in a 5 block radius about what I hear and they will all get annoyed with me and not want to be my friend anymore.

Then again, maybe I will find it all fascinating, smile, and nod my head then go on my way eating Lays potato chips.

Catching Some Z

Z: Novel of Zelda FitzgeraldWhile I am making my way through The Thin Place (it is going a bit slowly), I thought I would tell you about another book I read recently that I really liked. And that would be Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler.

Z is the fictional story of the real Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of The Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald. Z is in the same vein as Loving Frank, The American Wife, and The Paris Wife, all of which I read and liked. I actually listened to The Paris Wife and, while I didn’t care for the narration of the audiobook, I really enjoyed Paula McLain’s story about the Hemingways, which made it extra fun to read Z.

In The Paris Wife, the Fitzgeralds are very minor characters and are not portrayed well. In Z, the Hemingways are much bigger characters and are also not portrayed well. It’s entertaining to see all the drama that went on between the famous names of that time.

Even Hemingway malarkey aside, Z is a great look into the world of the Fitzgeralds. Zelda has been a misunderstood figure in literary history and Fowler has approached her sympathetically. Now I want to know even more about her.

My Name in a Book!

Beer ManI typically don’t talk about the manuscripts I read for work, but I am going to make a tiny exception and that’s only to mention one small detail in the book I just read…

A character has the last name of Beerman! That’s my last name! Well, that was my last name up until very recently and I will always be a Beerman at heart.

Anyway, I was really excited to see the name because I’ve never met a Beerman I wasn’t related to that spelled it the same way. And I’ve certainly never read a book with a character with the name spelled the same way.

We Beermans are entering the pop culture realm I guess.

It’s the little things that make me happy.

(That is the first picture that came up when I Google image searched “Beerman.”)

Reading From The List

The Thin PlaceI have been the worst blogger lately and I don’t even have a good excuse.

I’ve finally finished reading a bunch of manuscripts for work (and by finished, I mean finished for now…) so I am actually heading back to my mom’s list. Only two left! Have I mentioned that once or twice or ten times yet?

The Thin Place by Kathryn Davis arrived on my doorstep/in my mailbox a few weeks ago and I will be cracking it open this week. That is when I’m not reading the Haggadah for Passover.

While the book sounds a little strange to me, I’m looking forward to crossing another one off my mom’s list. I can’t believe I started this project more than three years ago and now it’s slowly (very slowly) coming to an end.

I also need a new audiobook to listen to. Any recommendations?

I Won! I Won!

The Silver StarI won a book! It’s no vacation or car, but since I never win anything I’ll take a free book.

Through Goodreads’ giveaway  program, I was randomly selected to receive a copy of Jeannette Walls’ The Silver Star: A Novel. Here’s the description from Goodreads:

It is 1970. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister Liz is fifteen when their artistic mother Charlotte, a woman “who flees every place she’s ever lived at the first sign of trouble,” takes off to “find herself.” She leaves her girls enough money for food to last a month or two. But when Bean gets home from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz board a bus from California to Virginia, where their widowed Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying antebellum mansion that’s been in the family for generations.

An impetuous optimist, Bean discovers who her father was and learns many stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Money is tight, so Liz and Bean start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town, a big man who bullies workers, tenants, and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older sister, inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, non-conformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz in the car with Maddox.

I’m really looking forward to the book because I’ve read and liked Walls memoir The Glass Castle about her very dysfunctional family. In fact, it was so nice I read it twice. (Okay, that was an accident because I didn’t remember I’d already read it but still.)

This is Walls first novel so I’m interested to see how she does with material that doesn’t come directly from her life. Then again, the description indicates that Walls’ odd childhood maybe be at least a little bit of an inspiration. We shall see…

Book Club Does Penumbra

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour BookstoreLast night book club met to eat lots of kale and discuss Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.

I liked Penumbra when I read it… unfortunately that was a quite a few months ago so my memory of it was a little rusty. As such, my contribution to the discussion was minimal besides providing some fun facts about the book’s author and background. (For example, although the book features Google heavily, Sloan used to work at Twitter.)

As for the others, it seemed most of them enjoyed the book. That is except for one notable exception who felt it was quite the Google propaganda. The rest weren’t bothered by it and liked the story even if they felt some of the plot went a little slowly. I personally appreciated the intersection between technology and old school books. All in all, well received.

Now we just await the announcement of our next book club pick.