Welcome to a new mini series: the Express Book Review!
This mini series may also be known as: I read a bunch of books but also got really busy and didn’t have time to give them proper reviews, but also though people should know about them…
The Potential Hazards of Hester Day was nuts. I chose-a-book-by-its-cover on a mad dash on my way to catch a train, and it turned out totally awesome. Our protagonist is bizarre, quirky, and smart– in a relatable, but not always entirely admirable way. The plot and characters are kind of absurd– yet at the same time, they’re not. There is a marriage, public libraries, marriage, accidental-on-purpose child abduction, a first crush/love. All kinds of good stuff.
This is the book that everyone was talking about at the beginning of the Summer. It was love-love-loved by lots of mainstream book reviewers, and everyone at the library was rushing to put it on hold because they’d heard it was the ultimate beach read.
It’s perfectly good, but I think I loved it less because it wasn’t as life-changing as all the hype made me think it would be. Plot-wise, it’s a classic slightly humorous, kinda gossipy NYT best seller about a wealthy white family from the east coast that goes on vacation and discovers things about each other and comes of age both as a unit and as individuals. I mean, it’s a solid book, an easy thing to recommend to someone who just wants to chill out and not think too much for a stretch of a few hours. You know how when you read a tabloid the nuances aren’t new but some of the people/places are? Kind of like that.
It’s not gonna change your life, but it will fill a few hours with well-written and nicely paced pleasantness.
Yokohama Threeway is great because it’s funny. But it’s also low-commitment. Of the fifty-ish vignettes, few of them are longer than a couple pages.
The premise is embarrassing moments, like that one thing you did 6 years ago and are still cringing over. But 50-ish of them. And all of them make you think thank goodness it wasn’t me. Phew! They’re basically little 3-minute bursts of Maybe I’m not too fucked up after all (even if it’s a lie to yourself).
I reserved this book from the library as soon as I finished Drinking At The Movies. Upon checking it out, I read it in like 2 seconds. This volume brings us from childhood to the present-ish, and back again. It’s in 3 segments:
1. Industry (crappy and awesome jobs through Wertz’s life. lots of food industry stuff that I could seriously relate to)
2. The Infinite Wait (moving to SF and getting a diagnosis and living and stuff. oh, san francisco. The author and I may have some different opinions about homelessness, but the rest was lovely)
3. A Strange and Curious Place (about the hometown and the hometown library. yay libraries.)
I liked this one just as much as I liked the other one; I pretty much sat down with it and didn’t get back up until I was finished reading it (when I was doing other things I was totally thinking about getting back to it). The illustrations are alluring, the pace is good, the plot is engaging, and I want more.
From Worldcat: When her notorious, hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled, and agoraphobic mother goes missing, teenage Bee begins a trip that takes her to the ends of the earth to find her.
I checked this book out because it’s my library’s current “On The Same Page” selection. Where’d You Go Bernadette might actually be two books. Not literally, but after reading it, I felt as if the tome in my hands possessed two distinct (possible mutually exclusive) directions. The first part reads like humor writing (think Lisa Lutz or David Sedaris or one of those coffee table books written by comedians with sitcoms). Events are extraordinary and personalities are hyperbolic. The second part goes deeper into why some of the events and personalities are the way that they are (and what leads up to Bernadette going missing). The second half of the second part of the book describes what happens after Bernadette goes missing, and frankly, I feel like it was too sentimental and maybe a little bit disappointing.
Not to say that the book was a waste of time! It was super clever, took to dimensions that not a lot of books take (a lot of it is told through emails and letters, but not in a draggy way), and was full of ideas that felt pretty fresh. It might not change your life– but after reading it in a couple of sits you won’t feel like you wasted precious moments of your life. I didn’t, at least.
get it at the library!