Monday, May 30, 2011

Recent Reads

This post should really be called, "An Ode to Audio Books." I absolutely love getting audio books from my local library.

When I sit down to read, I tend to stick with books that are spiritually nurturing or educational, with an audiobook, I am more likely to get a book that is purely leisure since I am driving an can turn my brain off a little. Here are a few that I have enjoyed in the past couple of months. 

Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
I picked up this audio book at the library just because the title was interesting. I was completely delighted to find one of my favorite books in recent memory! Ruth Reichl recounts her years as the New York Times food critic in an understandle, creative and completely entertaining way! I HIGHLY recommend this for a pick me up read or a great audio book.

I Beat the Odds by Michael Oher
As a person with a deep love of adoption and as a hopeful future adoptive and foster mother, I loved the movie The Blind Side, so I jumped at the chance to read I Beat the Odds by Michael Oher. This memoir is an honest monologue about Oher's very difficult upbringing in the worst of Memphis ghettos and the foster care system. Oher is an incredible young man who is honest about is mistakes and shortcomings and always respectful of his mother and other who contributed to his fractured young life.
This very honest memoir gives you insight into how many people in desperate poverty think about their situation that is devoid of hope. Oher explains how the generosity of others coupled with his determination changed his life. He gives practical examples about how you can truly help people around you.
Please read this book! It is delightful. You truly can change someone's life if you are willing

How Starbucks Saved My Life by Michael Gates Gill
We listened to this book on a road trip. The story of a middle aged man pushed out of his high paying job and forced into the service industry is more and more common in our current economy.
Gill's writing style still speaks to his elite education and seems a bit out of touch. However, he willingly takes responsibility for his failures and truly embraces his new life. As a coffee lover, my ears perked up during the technical coffee discussions. This book is enjoyable just not spectacular.

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
After reading Sittenfeld's "American Wife" last year, I was excited to read "Prep" which was her debut novel. I took on listening to the audio book as somewhat of a guilty pleasure. Seriously, I am almost 32 years old and reading a high school coming of age drama? Yet, I LOVED it. I listened to it to and from work instead of my standard news on NPR. I would sit in my driveway waiting for a chapter to end. I listened to the last chapter twice because I wasn't ready to say good...moreAfter reading Sittenfeld's "American Wife" last year, I was excited to read "Prep" which was her debut novel. I took on listening to the audio book as somewhat of a guilty pleasure. Seriously, I am almost 32 years old and reading a high school coming of age drama? Yet, I LOVED it. I listened to it to and from work instead of my standard news on NPR. I would sit in my driveway waiting for a chapter to end. I listened to the last chapter twice because I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Lee.
The book centers on a middle-class midwestern girl going to an elite boarding school near Boston. She, predictably, feels left out and lonely and also develops a crush on her class' most eligible bachelor. "Prep" has received scores of bad reviews and while I understand the criticsms of lack of plot, loating of the main character and general use of cliches; I loved this book because it made me feel the way I felt in high school. I wasn't popular, I wasn't a loser, I floated in the in between always analyzing how other people perceived me. I had host of unrequited crushes that felt so deeply painful at the time.

This is a great beach read for the Summer. Warning: the book turns sexual in the last quarter or so. If that is offensive for you, then I wouldn't start reading this one. However, since I work with teens and young women in unplanned pregnanices, even in the sexual content of this book had value for me. Being inside Lee's head and understanding her adolescent agnst has truly given me a new perspective on the women I work with and why they make the choices that they do

2 comments:

Michelle said...

Hello! Love the book reviews, as I am always looking for new books to read. Just found your blog! Take care!

Hilaire McCaughna said...

First of all, I must say, I don't know when you find time to blog with all that you are involved in, you are really super woman. I have always enjoyed your book recommendations, I am glad you are now doing official reviews. I am definitely going to check out Michael Oher's book.