Thursday, March 31, 2011

What I Read This Month

...and when I say "this month," I really mean "March 2011."

Sleeping Arrangements by Madeline Wickham, 2001

The pen name of Shopaholic author Sophie Kinsella. I've always enjoyed Kinsella's stories, but while reading this book, it dawned on me that her stories always involve lies. Big, crazy, wild lies usually told by the heroine, with twists and turns and add-ons, and enough vamping to fuel many a jazz concert. As someone who values honesty, I found that disappointing. I also can't believe I never noticed that before.

Lying aside, the story was good. Less fluffy than the books she writes under the name Kinsella. I wonder which one is her real name? Maybe neither? If you're a fan of Kinsella's books, you'll probably enjoy Sleeping Arrangements, a story about 2 couples whose marriages are in trouble. A mutual friend "accidentally" arranges for each couple to borrow his villa in Spain on the same weekend. They both arrive, thinking they will be enjoying a private family vacation, only to find they must share the space. Hijinks ensue.

Not a bad read. Not a bad read at all. But so disappointing to realize that all of Kinsella/Wickham's books (or at least all half a dozen or so that I've read thus far) revolve around lies.

Skyscraper by Faith Baldwin, 1931

A 21st Century reprint of 1930's pulp fiction. A woman is torn between two lovers, feeling like a... oh no, wait. A young career woman is pursued by two men, one young and sweet with plenty of potential, the other established and rich with plenty of charm. Does choosing either of these men require her to sacrifice her career? A hopeful bit of fluff, written at the beginning of the Great Depression, a love story to vertical urban development, the beginning of the single-urban-career-girl-looking-for-a-man genre.

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen, 1937

Dane Karen Blixen, under the pen name Isak Dinesen, writes about her decade and a half living and working on a coffee plantation near colonial Nairobi. Dinesen is breathtaking in her descriptions of the African countryside, but a bit slow and meandering in her story-telling. I'm glad I read it, but the movie is better (and how often is that true? Like, never. See, e.g., Twilight, Gone with the Wind, Jurassic Park.) (But how often does the movie star Meryl Streep and Robert Redford and real lions??)

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld, 2005

The first novel from Curtis Sittenfeld, author of the more recent American Wife. Focusing on a midwestern girl who leaves her hometown of South Bend, Indiana (where I used to live!) to attend a private boarding school in New Englad. As a scolarship student who doesn't hail from a wealthy family as do most of her classmates, this book recounts her development from an awkward freshman through to her graduation.

No comments:

Post a Comment