Monday, July 9, 2012

June 2012 Books

Not much to report for the month of June book-wise. Only 6 books completed! What with the traveling to Colorado and hospital visits there just wasn't much time to fit it in.

And Olympic trials coverage; I watched a lot of swimming, track and gymnastics. I LOVE the Olympics and pretty much plop in front of the TV for 2 straight weeks when they're on. Because I generally watch TV utilizing the DVR I miss out on reading during the commercials. On the other hand I watch TV in less time so I guess it all evens out. The Olympics, with all that filler, are perfect for DVRs, as long as you don't mind watching the next day. I record the whole shebang each evening (I think they run from 7 to midnight each day?) and then skim the next day for the things I want to watch. 

I am LOVING New York so far. All I want to do is get back to reading it (I am about halfway through) but I want it to last so I force myself to put it down.

  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
    • I love these books. I think Ms. Rowling did a fabulous job in storytelling as well as tying up all loose ends. 
    • I love the heroism of Neville Longbottom and wish the movie version had been a bit more faithful to that angle.
    • And Professor Snape! I think many women loved this character, probably due to the amazing Alan Rickman's bringing the character to life in the films. The conclusion of Snape's story is heartbreaking and perfect.
    • The ending is satisfying too. At the saga's last line I felt a sigh of pleasure and completeness.
    • It will be interesting to see what her new novel (The Casual Vacancy) will be like. I read something about how authors generally move from writing adult fiction to young adult but rarely go the other direction. Like that's a rule writers should follow.
    • A+ for both books
  • Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell
  • Mr. Bridge by Evan S. Connell
    • These books tell the story of a marriage. The first, published in 1958, centers on the life of Mrs. Bridge, a wife of a prominent attorney living in Kansas City in the 1930s and 1940s. The second, published in 1969, tells much the same story through her husband.
    • I had these both on my shelf and wasn't sure which one to start with so I went with the order they were published. I had more of an idea that they would tell the identical story from the two points of view but that's not really how it works out.
      • Mrs. Bridge's story is a series of short vignettes over the course of their marriage. We follow their children, the housekeeper, the friends and neighbors.
      • Mr. Bridges covers some of the same ground but concentrates instead on larger arcs such as a trip to Europe the Bridges take just before the start of World War II. 
      • Together they make a cohesive story of the marriage of an upper middle class couple.
    • I am dying to see the Merchant-Ivory movie with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward! It also has Simon Callow, Kyra Sedgwick, Robert Sean Leonard and Blythe Danner.
    • I didn't love these books but they were pretty interesting and I'm glad I read them.
    • B for both
  • Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
    • Carrie's first memoir based on her one-woman stage show which I had watched on HBO last year.
    • She is a very funny writer and I think I would have laughed more at the book had I not already seen the show. Watching her demonstrate via blackboard the relationships of her parents (Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, natch) is obviously much funnier while watching her do it than it is following along in a book.
    • I look forward to reading her next book, Shockaholic (she uses electroconvulsive therapy, aka electro-shock). I have already read her first 2 novels when they were first published in the 1980s.
    • B
  •  Boomerang: Travels in the new Third World by Michael Lewis
    • Through long chapters on Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Germany and the United States Michael Lewis takes us through the cultural reasons why countries behaved as they did during the financial crisis. The chapters were originally written for Vanity Fair magazine. 
    • The Germans, for example, don't like to get into debt so the real estate bubble didn't affect the general populace. Their banks, however, had no trouble lending to other countries so Germany did not come out unscathed.  The Icelandic people, especially the men, believe they can do anything, even if that means working as a fisherman one day and then as a financial trader the next.
    • Interesting, if a bit dry, and it makes believe that the financial crisis will be difficult to overcome without a change in cultural beliefs. Which is unlikely to happen. The next several decades will be interesting times...
    • B
That's it for June. I hope to have a more interesting roster for July.

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