Sunday, May 23, 2010

I hit the reading jackpot


If you too have my goal of reading approximately 23 books this summer all for fun, none for self improvement, than listen up, because I've spent the last couple of weeks reading three great books that have gotten me off to a great start in the relaxation department.

First I went to the library and scanned the new release section and saw a book called Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout.  I had never read any of her work before but this book won a Pulitzer prize, and if your book wins a Pulitzer prize than I want to read it, now I might now always be smart enough to appreciate a book that wins a pulitzer, but more often than not I enjoy the writing so much that the stretching of my brain is worth it.  This book is the story of Olive Kitteridge told in a collection of short stories in which she is either the main character, a supporting character, or just someone who walks through the story for a brief moment.  A unique story telling process gives you the full picture of not just Olive but of the town she spends her life in and the way people in small towns' lives are all intertwined.  I'm looking forward to picking up another book by Strout as her writing was just mesmerizing.

The next two books I read were memoirs, which are my very favorite genre of books.  I'm not sure how I first realized my love of memoirs, it was probably after reading the middle place, but since then everyone I've read has been pure joy.  I love to read people's stories, to see their pain and joy put into words, to learn that they triumphed over struggles and lived to see another day.  The first one I read was Someone Will Be with You Shortly: Notes from a Perfectly Imperfect Life, by Lisa Kogan, it's a collection of stories from her life and her opinions on things that will make you laugh out loud.  Her self-depreciating humor was especially refreshing and made me want to pick up a copy of O magazine (where she is a columnist) so that I can continue to read her work.

Then I read Making Toast, by Roger Rosenblatt.  I love the quote on the cover of the book,
"A painfully beautiful memoir telling how grandparents are made over into parents, how people die out of order, how time goes backward.  Written with such restraint as to be both  heartbreaking and instructive." -E.L. Doctorow
It is the story of how their whole family was affected when their daughter, who was married with three very young children, died.  It is written with such matter of factness that you are surprised at how he is able to communicate their sorrow, that a simple sentences can catch in your throat, causing you to feel just a bit of their pain.

So I'm off to the library this week to pick up some new reading material, got any recommendations?  I would love some ideas, since usually I just wander around grabbing whatever strikes me.

2 comments:

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

Serendipity! My best girl Sarah has been on me to read Olive Kitteridge and has even loaned it to me...I just haven't picked it up yet. She also recently sent me the link to Making Toast. You just sealed the deal on both!

Jenny said...

Shannan,

I think you especially will like them both...I can tell you love words as you write beautifully, and these books are filled with great writing.