Friday, January 24, 2014

Belated Book Review

It took about 24 hours to get from New York to Cape Town, the first destination on our honeymoon. What does one do whilst en route and disconnected from social media? It of course depends on the person. My husband watched a bunch of movies, which is now becoming quite annoying, as he vetoes all of my film picks as of late. ("Great Gatsby?" "Seen it." "Mud?" "Seen it." UGH!). At the time of our first departure (and on every plane ride throughout our honeymoon adventure) I wasn’t in the mood for movies. Or TV. Or sleep for that matter. I read. A lot. (Certainly more than the two books I had packed.) See below for my complete Honeymoon Book List, along with brief critical blurbs:

1.    Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (Packed by moi in America.)
I wasn’t quite as enchanted by the book and enamored of its author as Helen Schulman, but I certainly enjoyed Beautiful Ruins. The novel is rich with beautifully written descriptions and smart in its story-telling. I would recommend it, but not gush over it.

2.    Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (Also hand-picked in America; thank you Danny for the recommendation!)
This book, I GUSH over. My friend Danny recommended it. I saw it on bookshelves. I picked it up. I put it back down. This novel did not appeal to me at first. Then I gave it a chance. And thank goodness! I am obsessed. Can you tell? “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” is hysterically funny and addictive. Told mostly via email messages, its unique format adds to the genius of the book. Semple somehow accomplishes the delicious outcome of a novel that is both laugh out loud funny and a page turner. It’s an easy, delightful read and perfect for plane or beach.

3.    The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani (Wouldn’t have been my first pick at Three Lives or Barnes & Noble, but the Cape Town bookstore we stopped in had a limited selection of American novels.)
This novel has been described as a “romantic page turner” and I agree. However there are far more enticing romantic page turners out there. I would pass on picking up this one.  

4.    Friends Forever by Danielle Steel (Seriously slim pickens at the airport in Jo’burg.)
I can safely say Friends Forever is probably the first and last Danielle Steel novel I’ll ever read. I know Steel is some kind of genius, what with her 128-ish best-selling books, and I hope to be even a sliver as successful as her in my own writing career, but her style isn’t for me.

5.    Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan (I forget where in Africa I found it, but I’d choose it all over again back in North America.)
This book, which takes place partly at a bookstore, is smart, current and totally different from anything else I’ve ever read. I would definitely recommend it, and not just for other book worms.

6.    Where We Belong by Emily Giffin (Also an Africa airport bookstore pick, and also something I’d choose in the States.)
I love me some beach chick lit, and I adored Emily Giffin’s first few books: “Something Borrowed,” “Something Blue” and “Baby Proof.” Where We Belong didn’t disappoint; it’s an enjoyable, easy breach read.


P.S. For more on my adventures in reading see here, here, here, here, here and here J
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