Sunday, April 23, 2006

Summer reading

So, I've been on a mildly trashy contemporary romance novel kick, and I thought I'd admit to it here :-) These books are so quick to read, and fun, and there are so few surprises that they're comforting in a way. And as the weather gets warm, they're just perfect sometimes. So, if anyone is looking for cute, fluffy reads, Susan Donovan's He Loves Lucy and Rachel Gibson's Sex, Lies, and Online Dating are both very cute and enjoyable. I can also recommend almost anything by those two authors, as well as Jennifer Crusie and Janet Evanovich (who also does the Stephanie Plum books but has been cranking out the romance lately).

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Love Wife by Gish Jen

I stayed up too late finishing this book last night, but it was worth it. I've enjoyed Gish Jen's past novels, Mona in the Promised Land and Typical American, and this one was just amazing. The story begins when Carnegie does two things to disappoint his Chinese-born mother; he marries a white woman "Mama Wong" insists on calling Blondie, and he adopts a child of unknown parentage. Mama Wong's dying wish is for the Wong children to be raised more Chinese, so she arranges for Lan, a distant relative, to be brought over from China to nanny for the children (Carnegie and Blondie have adopted another daughter from China, and have had a late-life biological son). This book is about so many things: Carnegie's conflicted relationship with his mother and Chinese culture in general, Blondie's fears that Lan is the wife Mama Wong had wanted for Carnegie, the daughters' feelings that they are not one thing or the other, Lan's categorizing of everything as "Chinese" and "American" and assimilation attempts, what it means to belong to a family. I also learned a bit about the Cultural Revolution, which Lan lived through.

Excellent book. Like her others, I highly recommend it.

Friday, April 14, 2006

ToB Winner Announced!

Okay so I got bored with myself and my ToB commentary so I haven't posted in awhile. I also have still been knitting. I didn't like the first blanket I made at all, so I have started a new one and am only a quarter of the way done. And I have to have it done by the end of the month. Eek! Hopefully I can resume reading after that.

However, I did want to at least post the Tournament of Books winner for this year. I am utterly shocked, but The Accidental by Ali Smith was chosen. Perhaps I should give my audio book a second chance, perhaps the last four chapters of the book are what really make it. It's just so hard to believe that this is supposedly, in the biased minds of these literary judges, the best book of 2005! I think I will have to read some of the other books they've reviewed. Some of them sound so much better to me than the Accidental. But I suppose my viewpoint is from an entertainment point of view, while the judges may be coming from a more literary point of view.

Anyway, anyone read any good books lately?