What I Read: September 2013

I read 6 books in September, 4 fiction, 2 non-fiction. 3 in print, 3 on the Kindle.

Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to New York by Paul Gallico. The sequel to Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris, which I read last month. In this book, Mrs. ‘Arris (London’s finest charwoman), goes with one of her clients to New York, ostensibly to help them set up house, but mostly to try to find the father of her poor abused and abandoned neighbor, young Henry Brown. Lighthearted fun.

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. Jonathan Tropper was recommended to me when I was looking for summer reading recommendations (but it took a while for this book to come in at the library). Tropper was described to me as funny, and I get where they are coming from. This book isn’t Serious like say Ian McEwan or Margaret Atwood, but I don’t think I would call it funny. The basic plot is the the protagonist has just been left by his wife (who he found having sex in his bed with his boss), and now his father has died and he is sitting shiva with his mother and siblings. It’s amusing. There’s lots of semi-dysfunctional family drama, but I didn’t laugh once. I liked it, but I don’t think I’ll go out of my way to read anything else by him.

Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen by Edward Lee. I watched Edward Lee on Top Chef (the Texas season), and I was intrigued. His food always sounded amazing to me and I wondered how this Korean-American guy came to be this great new Southern chef in Louisville, KY. I was really hoping for a memoir, with a few recipes, but this book is really a cookbook with semi-biographical introductions. It’s good, but not what I was hoping for.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein. This is a really fun kid’s book that reminds me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Kyle Keeley is one of 12 lucky 12-year-olds chosen for an overnight sleepover in his town’s fabulous new library (imagined and sponsored by game-maker Luigi Lemoncello). Of course there is a puzzle-solving twist, with a fabulous reward for whoever solves the puzzle. So enjoyable.

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed. I had seen that friends had read and loved this book, but I resisted it. I didn’t really need an advice book. It seemed like a book to read when you were having Hard Times, and I’m not having Hard Times. But I read Strayed’s Wild and liked it, and it was available as an eBook from the public library, so finally I picked it up. And it is SO good. This is not a book for Hard Times, it is a book for Life. Strayed’s writing is beautiful and compassionate and true. I’m seriously considering buying a copy, so that I can reread it on occasion (and I am not generally a rereader). (Warning: You will probably cry while reading this book. Beware reading in public.)

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy. Another children’s book, which I read about on a blog. Let me first say that it the cover art is AWFUL, and I almost didn’t read the book because of it. Still it’s a fun fantastical read. Skulduggery Pleasant (a “living” skeleton) teams our with our heroine, 12-year-old Stephanie Edgley, to battle the evil Nefarian Serpine (good naming in this book). Total escapist read, although I don’t know if I’ll bother reading the rest of the series.

What I Read: September 2013

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