Weekly Reads | 7.28.2014

With Claire visiting my parents last week, Nick and I got to work on some household projects. I didn’t have much reading time, but I took as much time as possible.

Beginning this week, I’ll be reading the second half of

Zenith City: Stories from Duluth by Michael FedoZenith City: Stories from Duluth
By Michael Fedo

On my commute I’ve been switching between the radio and

The Magician's Assistant by Ann PatchettThe Magician’s Assistant (Audiobook)
By Ann Patchett

I wasn’t sure I’d stick with this after the first few minutes, but, as usual, I’m glad I stuck with it.

If you’re interested in my thoughts as I read, check out my new Tumblr Totally Contains Spoilers.

Recent Posts

July Book Lists

Pick out your next read from these great lists.

A Review of Steve Martin’s An Object of Beauty

Not comedy, but Martin’s distinctive voice shines through.

What are you reading this week?

**Linked up with Book Journey**

A Review of Steve Martin’s Unusual An Object of Beauty

I don’t really know for how long, but I’ve been a pretty big Steve Martin fan. His quirky humor fascinates me, and I enjoy watching Planes, Trains and Automobiles every time I get a chance to watch it. When he wrote a novel, I knew I had to read it. Then he wrote some more, and I still hadn’t read it. It took a while for me to pick one of them up.

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin An Object of Beauty
By Steve Martin

Review

Steve Martin managed to create a character that I loved to dislike. Lacey Yeager was opportunistic, conniving and just plain rude, but I enjoyed reading her entire story as told by her sad sack guy friend from college.

Overall, Martin crafted an entertaining and unique story. The book is about art in that Lacey is an opportunistic art dealer and her friend a freelance art writer. Throughout the book we’re treated to color reproductions of the art mentioned in the story. I really enjoyed this because I didn’t have to either remember what a certain painting looked like or Google the ones I’d never heard of.

Rating

Writing 4 out of 5 stars

Martin has a particular writing style that was clear throughout.

Character Development 4 out of 5 stars

Lacey was very unlikable. As I mentioned, I liked that. I also enjoyed that I wasn’t quilted into liking her in the end. She wasn’t misunderstood. She didn’t have a rough childhood. She was just all-around very unlikable.

Storytelling 4 out of 5 stars

I found the story very fascinating. It flowed along smoothly, providing enough hints and revealing enough details to make me wonder how it would end, but still be in the dark about some of the story up until the end.

Total 4 out of 5 stars 

Have you read any of Steve Martin’s work? What did you think?

Weekly Reads: 7.21.14

Well, Nick and I have shipped our daughter off to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. We’re very nervous, even though it’s the third time she’s stayed with them. I do plan to get a lot of reading done, but also a lot of other stuff!

After I finished Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois, I repicked up

The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer

The Uncoupling
By Meg Wolitzer

If you’re interested in my thoughts as I read the book, check out my new Tumblr Totally Contains Spoilers.

What are you reading this week?

**Linked up with Book Journey**

Weekly Reads: 7.14.14

As I was reading Cartwheel in e-book format last week, a thought crossed my mind that I should check the due date. I forgot. The book expired one night when I was unable to put it down. 😦

Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois

Cartwheel
By Jennifer duBois

So I picked up

The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer

The Uncoupling
by Meg Wolitzer

I’ll pick up Cartwheel tomorrow at the library, and I can’t wait to finish it! Then, I’ll gladly re-pick up The Uncoupling.

If you’re interested in my generally unfiltered thoughts as I read, check out my new Tumblr Totally Contains Spoilers.

What are you reading this week?

**Linked up with Book Journey**

Weekly Reads: 7.7.14

How was your weekend? I got to fit in a lot of reading, relaxing and household projects. Happy 4th of July indeed!

This weekend I began reading

Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois

Cartwheel
By Jennifer duBois

So far, I’m really enjoying this book. Let me know if you’ve read it! If you’re interested in my thoughts as I read the book, check out my new Tumblr Totally Contains Spoilers.

What are you reading this week?

**Linked up with Book Journey**

Witty & Engaging: A Review of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love

Happening upon Nancy Mitford was, for me, a happy little surprise. I’d read that one of her books, a Christmas one, was recommended by Flavorwire. My library didn’t have that one, but it did have

The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford | A Review by The 1000th Voice

The Pursuit of Love
By Nancy Mitford

Review

I’m absolutely in love with Mitford’s sentences. Some of them are concise, some possess hidden barbs and others are complex and fascinating.

Louisa was to have two houses, one in London, Connaught Square, and one in Scotland. Her dress allowance would be three hundred a year, she would possess a diamond tiara, a pearl necklace, a motor-car of her own and a fur cape. In fact granted that she could bear John Fort William, her lot was an enviable one. He was terribly dull.

The pursuit of love in this book is both romantic and familial. It’s Linda’s (the narrator’s cousin), it’s the Bolter’s (the narrator’s mom) and it’s really each character’s pursuit. Linda wanted so badly not to become just like the Bolter. But upon leaving her second husband and taking up with a French Duke she‘d only just met, she confirmed to the reader, Fanny and her family that she was just the same. She was going to be a problem.

Alfred likes people to be filed neatly away under some heading that he can understand; careerist, social climber, virtuous wife and mother, or adulteress.

The Pursuit of Love was witty, smart and surprising. It was, ultimately, a wonderful book. In fact, a near perfect book.

Rating

Writing 5 out of 5 stars

As I said, I loved Mitford’s sentences. They were a thing of beauty.

Character Development 5 out of 5 stars

The story had an interesting structure where the  narrator was telling her cousin’s story while weaving in her own and the rest of her family’s. In that way, Mitford was able to craft well-developed characters

Storytelling 5 out of 5 stars

Mitford’s story was fascinating, humorous and ultimately very entertaining.

Total 5 out of 5 stars 

Have you read any of Mitford’s work? What did you think?

Book Review: Remarkable Creatures

By Tracy Chevalier
I first stumbled onto Tracy Chevalier when I read The Girl with the Pearl Earring. I loved the way Chevalier created an entire story around a Vermeer painting of a young girl with a pearl earring. I quickly fell in love with several of Chevalier’s other books. She became one of my favorite authors and landed a spot on my 30 Things Before 30 list.
Remarkable Creatures is her latest work, published in 2009. Like her other books, this one is well researched and well written. Her characters’ dialects and actions feel authentic.Remarkable Creatures gently drops its readers into the early 1800s, when women’s rights were severely limited and having a mind of one’s own was a cause for intense disapproval. As usual, her characters are strong women who challenge authority and buck convention. They work to make a name for themselves in a time and an industry in which women were persona non grata.

The remarkable creatures are more than just the two female narrators who chose to live life on their own terms. The early 1800s brought about many discoveries of the natural world. Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species, introducing the concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest, would be published in 1859. While passing time, waiting to die, and reading about the natural world would have been more fitting for an upper class spinster and a poor girl should have been a dishwasher, the narrators found their passion, their lives’ calling in fossil hunting on the beaches of England.The tales of fossil hunting and the challenges of a friendship that challenges class and age fill the pages of this book and really flesh out the story.

This book is a must read for historical fiction lovers. Tracy Chevalier may be one of my favorite authors, but I would recommend this book regardless.