Short Stack Reviews: Words In Deep Blue, Vinegar Girl, and More
I read, constantly. I write up my reviews in the way that I read my books, in short stacks of four…
This week also known as: Books Referred by Amy & Lynette
1. Words In Deep Blue – This book is amazing. I am so thankful my friend Lynette told me about it. I have found a few books over the last two years that I revere and recommend to everyone, an this one just made the cut. It’s in the same league as Station Eleven, Bel Canto, and The Wanderers – which is high praise for me. All of them have a dreamlike, suspended in time quality with a genuine optimism and a writing style imbued with beauty.
It’s a story of love, loss, a passion for reading, and tales told through love letters tucked between the pages of books in a second hand shop. Charming. I am not one for mushy or racy love stories, but there’s a tenderness to this relationship that is hypnotic. The whole book almost reads like a poem, it is so engaging.
2. Salt: A World History – I love books like this and have read the history of the world in beverages and the history of things like seeds and drinking water. I was super impressed with this book and had no idea how many things salt is used for (gun powder, plastics, heck – most manufacturing and practically all food). If you like to nerd out on history and cooking this is a must read. Had several ancient recipes that were fascinating and made me really appreciate modern conveniences. Recommended by my cousin Amy (who LOVED it & wants to track down copies of really old cookbooks now).
3. A Window Opens: A Novel – another Lynette recommendation, and I, um, hated it. Sorry. I think part of my problem was that I started out being really excited about it – lots of talking about books and the future of bookstores – and then all of a sudden, no books, hellscape of a job, dying parent, failing marriage… ***bleak*** They wrapped it all up into a “happy ending” which I didn’t find very happy or realistic. Looking forward to discussing it with my friends next week. Sometimes the best discussions are on books we have mixed feelings on. I’m always fascinated when one person loves it and another one hates it. Usually there are great insights to share, instead of when everyone enjoys it and just kind of smiles & nods.
4. Vinegar Girl – (The Taming of the Shrew, retold) This was my first Hogarth Shakespeare book, although I have read and seen several other modernizations of Shakespearean works. It was a short, entertaining read based on one what was one of my favorite plays…however, placing it in a modern setting I was struck with how sexist the original I was to a point of distraction. This version was not as blaringly sexist as the original, but I got the feeling Kate had Aspergers – which made me want to rerea the original and see if that had the same vibe. I actually really like that angle – until all of the other characters seemed to have it too – her father, the love interest, the little sister – it became one note. With that said, I really liked the twist on getting the brilliant scientific assistant a green card as a reason behind patching up a quickie wedding. Basically, this book was a bit of a see saw for me – but bottom line, it did make me want to return to Shakespeare, and read the book again to see how I feel after an initial read.
My cousin Amy read this one first & it was fun to discuss with her. If you discuss books with friends – this is a great pick!
My next short stack will include: The Massacre of Mankind: Sequel to War of The Worlds by Stephen Baxter; Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau; Packing for Mars: the Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach and; The Truth We Bury by Donna Postel (book club selection).
Whether you’re down the street or across the country, I want to work with you. If you are in the DFW area, we can meet for a coffee to discuss your project. I love working with local businesses, large and small!