Saturday, April 12, 2014

Finishing February

The Food of a Younger Land was the first book I read in February. Here are the others. Except for one book, it was a great month for reading:

American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee - Karen Abbott.  Sounds like the title got stalled in a committee meeting.  Abbott tries to shoehorn too much into a narrative that skips around and involves too many people. It's almost like two nonfiction offerings glued together in an unwieldy fashion -- perhaps also in a committee meeting?  An ambitious mess.

Dear Coca-Cola - Terry Ravenscroft - Letters of inquiry and complaint written as pranks to huge corporations such as the one in the title, KFC and Cadbury, among others.  Ravenscroft usually receives a response (usually an apology, a free sample or a coupon).  He then pushes back with a reply that is more absurd than his original letter and sometimes gets several more replies until someone in Marketing or PR figures out he's having a joke on them.  Short, fun read.

Doctor Sleep - Stephen King.  This was the perfect sequel to The Shining.  Again, Uncle Stevie reins in his powers and doesn't splash all over the page for pages and pages.  While The Shining evoked memories of Shirley Jackson at her best, Doctor Sleep, for all its undead and gore, had decidedly Dickensian flourishes.  Since Abra has got a huge case of the shining, I'm sure readers will see her in a future novel.

Albert Nobbs - George Moore.  Albert Nobbs is a hotel waiter in late-nineteenth century Dublin with a *big* secret.  Being a novella from the school of Realism, there's hope and then heartbreak.  This book was an exciting discovery for me, and I raced out to find other George Moore novels.

Wheat Belly - William Davis, M.D.  According to Dr. Davis, wheat isn't what it used to be.  It's been genetically modified to grow shorter and more uniformly.  While this was a win for farmers, it seems to have affected our health.  For starters, he cautions that eating wheat products is like sitting down with the sugar bowl in front of you and plunging in with a serving spoon and that leads to obesity and a myriad of mild to serious health problems.  Being highly addictive as well as everything else, Davis believes that if we would just give up wheat cold turkey, we'd  lose weight as well as  all these maladies.  I'm trying, but he's right: wheat products are addictive.  I've never smoked -- bread is my cigarette.

Esther Waters - George Moore.  When I went in search of more George Moore, I found that I had Esther Waters tucked away on my Kindle.  I can really see Zola's influence in this novel.  Esther is a young girl from a highly religious background who goes into service at an estate connected to a horse-racing stable.  She is seduced, then abandoned, then loses her post because of her pregnancy, although her employer is sympathetic to her circumstances. (In the middle of Esther's troubles there is lots and lots and LOTS of talk about horse-racing -- another nod to Zola)  Things get grim for a while, but Esther is no tragic Fantine.  Modern readers can relate to her -- she simply carries on, supporting her son, then one day...  Highly recommended.

Yeah, this WAS a great reading month!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed Doctor Sleep, too.