Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer Reading (so far)

I'm not a big reviewer, I prefer to discuss books in person. But I figured I'd still share with you my summer reading so far.

Firstly, I was able to get my hands on an advance copy of Jane Stanton Hitchcock's newest, Mortal Friends. I promise, it does not disappoint. A Washington native myself, I thoroughly enjoyed Mrs. Hitchcock's descriptions of politics and power in the nation's capital. Always smartly observed, her writing is humorous and clever. I agree with The Wall Street Journal's review in that the social-comedy aspects of the novel are better-developed than the mystery plot, but that's why we read Jane's books, no? It comes out on Tuesday, go pick it up, it's worth the hardcover price.

Next, Chandler Burr's You or Someone Like You. This books appeals to the English major in me, with its Hollywood intellectual book group and constant Shakespeare and Auden references. If you're not a fan of classic or serious English literature, I can see how the constant epigrams may tire you out, but this is certainly a provocative look at intellectualism in Hollywood which also deals in idenity-searching and contemporary religous issues. I didn't always see how the posturing-book club side of the novel connected to its message about the issues, but it was a delightful read, nonetheless. Anne Rosenbaum (its protagonist) reminded me of myself in the best ways and the worst ways. And, the cover art is to die for.

Finally, I just had the pleasure of speed-reading J. Courtney Sullivan's debut, Commencement. I'd call this chic-lit for the academic crowd. Much like Martha Moody's Best Friends (which I've previously blogged about) this follows a group of friends through college as they grow into adulthood. This plot is typical of many first novels by young female authors, but this managed to be sophisticated in both its characterization and plot; it becomes quite a page-turner. The characters are truly relatable, much in the way that each of the Sex in the City girls were relatable in their own way. With its Tiffany-box blue cover, and red ribbon, this novel is met with equal pleasure as the fabled and beautiful blue box itself.

I'm going to stick to my decision to not share my reads-of-choice until I'm finished. This is mostly due to my habit of reading too many books at once (I'm reading approximately four different novels right now) and sometimes I put them down in the middle not to be returned to until years later. (Such is the case with approximately five books I started last summer, sitting on my shelf this season pleading to be re-examined; we shall see). Either way, I'll certainly continue to share what I finish.

Happy Sunday, I'm off to peruse the Times,


  1. sounds good... love your book reviews! I just picked up 14 titles at the Miami Beach Library, I'd recommend "The Writing Class" by Jincy Willett to you. I have been loving it so far! Reading many books at once is appealing, and then when one grabs you and you are pulled in enough to enjoy it all thoroughly, that is the best... :) Happy Sunday!

  2. totally agree about JSH's social-comedy aspect of her writing- totally why I read her books too! Soooooooooooo jeal that you got your hands on an advanced copy- you are one lucky lady! When does it come out!? Will add to my summer-reading list for sure!