The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik
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July 26, 2010

Enjoyed, but only a little

Last week was a good week for reading, mostly in fits and starts, but the books I read were generally underwhelming.  I find myself not really wanting to write about them in any detail, but here are some quick thoughts. (On the other hand, there was a great comment from Scott Simon of NPR (he's great on the radio, but he's also wonderful on Twitter) on their book reviewer (who is also a London cabbie...):  "Ya' know what makes Will Grozier so wonderful to hear? He's a reader, not a critic."

Kim Severson's Spoon Fed:  How Eight Cooks Saved My Life  was very interesting in parts, especially when she focused on the cooks in question (Marion Cunningham, Ruth Reichl, Alice Waters, Rachel Ray and others) and less on the (seemingly put-up) life lessons she learns along the way.  I'm finding that I'm not very interested in contemporary memoirs, especially since the ones I've been reading seem to be more about writing a book than about telling the story of an interesting life.

After that, I dipped into Katie Fforde's Wedding Season for sheer pleasure.  It was fun to read, and completely unchallenging, and not all that absorbing - no spoiler alert needed, you know how it's going to end. The settings and the situations (a wedding planner, a hairdresser and a dress designer, and their work trials and romantic tribulations) give it some color.I think a lot of these prolific writers lose steam along the way. But I've been reading her books since she started writing them, and I still will. Besides, I have a ridiculous theory that British chick lit has more redeeming value than American chick lit.

And last of all, I read Dominique Browning's How I Lost My Job, Put On My Pajamas & Found Happiness.  I had read one or two of her earlier books, and since I was something like 157th in line for this at the library I thought I should read it while I had the chance.  Browning was the editor of House & Garden, and found herself unemployed and deeply depressed when the magazine folded. I wasn't sure I wanted to read about someone who was unemployed and depressed, but Browning (an other woman) is a good person to measure yourself against when things aren't going well for you. I liked horrible Stroller, though!

Whether I've liked a book or not, there's something that I love about finishing a book and starting another one.  Now that these three are back at the library, where they belong, I've turned back to Mansfield Park and a biography of Jane Austen (more on them soon), and I've started Allegra Goodman's The Cookbook Collector.  Much more promising!


El said...

These look like wonderful summer reads. I'd love to read the one about food especially!

Frances said...

Love the post title! Kind of says it all. Think I would have gone for the first too. Love all things foodie. The Cookbook Collector intrigues me too, and it seems to have caught the attention of so many. Happy reading!

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