August 7, 2010

Here's A Fantastic Summer Read... and two mediocre ones...

With some vacation time and travel time this summer, I have been catching up on some good old fashioned reading. And my 'good old fashioned reading' I mean super fast high-tech downloads of books to my Kindle, which I love obsessively.

The best of the bunch is a book I had never heard of before, by a guy I had never heard of. The book is One Day by David Nicholls, and its premise could be gimmicky: the book traces the 20-year relationship of Emma and Dexter by checking in with them on July 15 every year, starting when they graduate university. What starts as a one-night stand becomes a flirtatious friendship between the entitled rich boy and the brainy bohemian girl. Though this is a fast summer read, it is smart and funny and touching, with great humour and great insight about your 20s to 30s to 40s. And sneaking in there beneath the comedy is a stealth tearjerker - these crazy kids are perfect for each other and yet cannot get together. I laughed and yes I welled up with a tear or two. Read it!

You probably know Samantha Bee from her very funny bits on The Daily Show. She is smart and funny and foul-mouthed and, yes, proudly Canadian. This collection of essays runs the gamut from hysterical (her part-time job in a frame store) to just weird (her teenage crush on Jesus). There is no dish on The Daily Show, there are stories on growing up in a family with 'a long history of divorce', having her own apartment at age seven (really?), and early failed romantic and career adventures. In this disjointed collection, some stories are funny, some are just awkward. Bee is charming through all of it. Worth reading if you are already a fan.

Insignificant Others author Stephen McCauley is a smart quick gay dude. I love his books, which are modern gay comedies of manners, mostly because I identify with his characters. Except this time. The writing here is bang on like always, getting into the lives of gay men in a big city dealing with family, career, fidelity, money, and love. The problem is, all these characters are just unlikeable. Lead character Richard Rossi is dismayed to learn that his partner has an insignificant other, while he himself is struggling with a mid-life crisis and juggling his own part-time lover. Really, people, this is how you spend your time? His problems are both ridiculous and self-induced. Sure, this book has its very funny moments, but it's not great. From this author, try Alternatives to Sex or The Object of My Affection.

Okay back to my Kindle now... what should I read next?


babi69 said...

One Day sounds great, thanks for the recommendation. I noticed your Shelfari selections when I first logged on to your blog. Some similar choices on my shelves - great literary taste!

Dazee Dreamer said...

I don't have the kindle but I have an Sony EReader and I love it. I love to read, but don't want to go to the library, and I just can't justify buying every book I want to read. I might have to checkout some of those books you have mentioned. Thanks

Jabacue said...

I wil definitely add these to my very long list of to do/read.

Lauren said...

Oh, that first one sounds good but I'm really bad with surprise tear-jerkers. Plus I can never get away with crying over anything. I always get busted and then a zillion questions follow.

Brahm (alfred lives here) said...

Love the visual of getting busted when crying over a book - I think of that too, as I get involved in it and forget the outside world. What the hell are other people thinking if they see me? My husband tends to leave me in peace when I am curled up with a good read; I think he enjoys the peace and quiet break!

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