April 29, 2007making inroads Today is the 119th day of the year. At this point in the year, I should have read 16 books and be well into my 17th one. So, I'm a little bit behind. And I was at the same point last year - 10 books read (most of them for school).
But this year, I'm still feeling strong and I'm choosing books that are of interest to me. Perhaps my literary diet for chick lit isn't all that intellectually stimulating, but it makes me happy. Several times in the past few weeks I've actually almost missed my stop on the subway because I was so engrossed in what I was reading. That hasn't happened to me since junior high!
I probably wouldn't push myself as hard or continue to pick up books when I finish them if it wasn't for this silly goal. So perhaps, it's not a silly goal after all.
The Devil Wears Prada, this is not. But it's still a fun read about someone who doesn't fit into the world of a fashion magazine. The characters were pretty tame sketches of the normal people you find in an office, including the bitch boss, gossipy office worker, senior person who seems to be only one who actually likes working there and the thing they working for, etc. I wasn't actually rooting for anyone and it barely kept me engaged, but I did finish the book.
Each chapter is only a few pages long, making it seem like the reader is making progress through the book a lot faster than reality. Some of the anecdotes are told out of order, but not so much so that it's confusing. The main character has a really weird name, which kinda took me out of the moment sometimes, but the book's short enough for it not to completely turn me off.
The scheme is a little far-fetched and I was expecting a much different outcome than what actually occurs. The whole book is leading up to a climatic moment, which turns out to be rather anti-climatic and is glossed over pretty quickly. And then the book ends like 10 pages later. I was left sorta shaking my head at what had just happened.
I'll probably read other Lynn Messina novels, but I won't seek them out like I do with Sophie Kinsella books.
This was a quick read and it kept me engaged this week, when little else could. It's a little cliched in that the two leads can't stand each other, but end up falling in love after a brief amount of time. It was interesting to watch someone who doesn't believe in the "fairy tale" and "happily ever after" actually have it happen to her. The characters were pretty interesting and I like seeing how they interacted with each other.
It was a bit more explicit with the sex scenes than I would have expected for this genre, but it was nice to see a less than perfect girl (in terms of figure) get some action from a hottie. I could have done without both sets of parents or at least have one set of parents not be horrible, but I guess not everyone is as lucky as me ;)
April 12, 2007The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
The cover of my copy of this book says it was called "DIABOLICALLY FUNNY" by The New York Times. I was expecting this book to be in the vein of The Devil Wears Prada, hysterically skewering the life of a rich woman's nanny. But I guess the NYT and I don't share the same sense of what's funny and what's just sad.
Starting out, I thought I was on the right track with this book. There's a disclaimer before you read word one that makes it explicitly clear that, though it may have been inspired by actual events, everything that occurs within the book is purely fiction. This would seem necessary, given the subject matter and the presumed content of the book, but then you start reading and discover that the main character is called "Nanny" and the couple for which she begins working is called "Mr. & Mrs. X." Why the disclaimer AND the anonymous characters names? It seems like only one or the other is needed, but not both. It definitely took me out of the moment while I was reading.
There were parts of it that made me laugh, but for the most part, I just felt sorry for everyone involved. I felt sorry for Nanny as she gets sucked further into this bizarre world and doesn't have the backbone to speak up, since unlike the main character in Prada, a rec from Mrs. X would really have no bearing on her future. I felt sorry for Mrs. X as realized the reality of her life and who she had become. I felt sorry for the kid who was stuck in a horrific childhood experience and is powerless in his parents' power struggle.
As the book wore on, it became less funny and more uncomfortable. I didn't feel as if the parents and their lifestyle were being so much skewered for comedic effect, but simply held up to the light to see their ugliness (as if we weren't already aware). There was a romance thrown in as well, but it wasn't developed enough for me to even keep up with it. It was like in one chapter they met for a drink and she barely knew anything about him and then in the next chapter, they were talking about his schedule as it would affect them as a couple. Very strange.
Overall, I was really disappointed by this book. It was just not what I expected it to be.
April 04, 2007Shopaholic Ties The Knot by Sophie Kinsella
Having finished Shopaholic Abroad on the plane, I started reading the next book in the series at lunch this week. I really like the pacing of Kinsella's books because they move quickly while keeping me engrossed.
Though I usually find Becky annoying, I could really sympathize with her in this book. Of course, there were times when she seemed too materialistic and indecisive (a common theme), but her heart really was in the right place. I loved how she moved the characters through some really rough emotional terrain instead of just focusing on the money being spent like usual. I actually found myself like Luke (a first!) and rooting for him and Becky to have the wedding that they wanted.
I'm still a little squicked by the Suze/Tarkey marriage, but I guess I'll just have to get over it. I liked the recurrence of characters in this book, even if she introduced a few too many new ones this time. Overall, I liked the book and I hope to pick up Shopaholic and Baby soon.
April 03, 2007bargain priced rack = kryptonite I went to Barnes and Noble tonight to pick up a copy of a book written by one of my favorite professors. But even though the book just came out last week, it's "out of print." I dunno. Weird.
But since I was at B&N, I couldn't just walk out empty-handed. One of the professors I met at my future grad school last week recommended that I read as much fiction as possible before I start school again because I won't have the time or inclination once I'm back in the groove of academia. Taking his words to heart, I picked up three books off the Bargain Priced shelves, each for $4.98.
April 02, 2007Shopaholic Abroad by Sophie Kinsella
I'm on a bit of a Sophie Kinsella kick at the moment. There's a new Shopaholic book out on the market, so I decided that I needed to read the other books in the series before grabbing that one. My mom had borrowed this one and the next (Ties the Knot) a while ago, so on my recent visit home, I brought them back with me.
I read this book on the flight back home from the East Coast to get out of talking with the World's Chattiest Flyer, seated to my right. I ended up reading the whole thing in about three hours. I had forgotten how annoying Becky's spending and indecision could be, but she always seems to redeem herself in the end. There were times when I just wanted to smack her, but at the same time, I wanted everything to turn out alright for her as well.
I definitely like Kinsella's otherbooks better than this series. But at the same time, this book was better than a lot of other chick lit that I've read, so I guess I can't complain too much.