The books I've read since the last Imaginary Book Club meeting are now filling up an entire shelf on my bookcase. I think maybe that means I've been slacking. So let's meet, people. Pull up a chair. More books I've read but failed to post about:
1. Plain Truth. Liked it but suspected the ending early on. I’m beginning to draw parallels between Jodi Picoult’s books and Agatha Christie books. Back during an Agatha Christie phase in which I read no less than 50 of her books, I discovered that the secret to figuring out who did it wasn’t in the clues or the dialogue. It was in who couldn’t possibly have done it. And I don’t mean stuff like the dad couldn’t have killed the daughter because dads love their daughters. I mean dude was standing on stage in front of a 300 impartial witnesses during the exact moment the murder occurred and had absolutely no opportunity to slip out of sight at all. Over time I realized I would eliminate that person early on since by all appearances there was no way in hell they could have done it. Except then there'd be some massive plot twist from left field and that was the person that always did it. That’s how she got you to be so surprised. That’s also when I moved on and started reading other books. Coincidence? I think not. I haven’t moved on from Jodi Picoult’s books just yet. But she’s on notice. These twists at the end aren’t so twisty anymore.
2. Ask Again Later. Target selection. Was there any doubt? Thumbs cautiously up. Different. Quick read. Part of what I liked about it was how quick it moved but truthfully I think I would have enjoyed more detail. Which is odd because 9 out of 10 books I usually wish at some point that they could fast forward through some description. It’s about a girl whose mom gets cancer. Although that makes it seem like you’ll need tissues to read it but you won’t. The girl’s also sort of lost so she quits her job and moves in with her mom. She’s very neurotic and she reminded me of me in all the most neurotic ways. For example, sometimes I think I’d like to start seeing a shrink but I figure I’d make small talk and refuse to talk to him about anything important for months. That would be like flushing money down the toilet so then I think why bother. I guess this girl has money to burn so she goes and does that anyway.
3. Stealing Buddha's Dinner. Interesting. Reminded me of my own leg warmer wearing childhood in the 80s. All the food chatter was a bit much for me though. But then I guess everyone's childhood is marked by certain things that stand out and for her it was food. And for the record, I totally agreed with the hierarchy of lunch box desserts. Hostess Cupcakes with the white squiggle across the top were the best.
4. How to Potty Train in Less Than a Day. In an effort to jump start the potty training in our house I bought this book based on assorted reviews including Amazon. But I swear I didn’t really believe we’d be potty trained in a day. I was mostly just hoping to get my 2 year old to sit on the potty rather than run away crying. And judging by those standards, it was successful. We gradually moved from that to wearing panties on the weekend and then eventually we just decided to go all in and committed to round the clock panties. Several days of non stop accidents and multiple loads of laundry but the light finally clicked on. Overall, potty training took us several months. After being diaper free for over a month, he regressed for a week. A week in which his teacher asked us if we had considered buying some pull ups. But then he just got right back on the horse and we've been a panty wearing house ever since. Knock on wood. I thought this book had a lot of good suggestions though. Investing in the toilet with the bells and whistles was one of them. We went with one that plays music. He loved it. Other helpful tips included getting a doll that pees and demonstrating correct procedure using the doll and getting the kid to help the doll. The newest Kindergartner got a little carried away loading the doll up with liquids but it definitely got everyone jazzed. Giving him fluids non stop so he’d need to go all the time to get some practice was another good one. And I liked the clean and dry panty checks. Having said all that, there were a couple techniques in the book that I wasn't down with. One of them included making the kid run back and forth to the potty after he has an accident. They want you to do it 10 times while the kid still has the wet clothes on. First of all, yuck. Second of all, making them do it with the messy clothes on just seemed sort of mean. Maybe I’m just delicate and soft but so be it.
5. Six O’Clock Scramble. This cookbook gets mixed reviewed so far. Some of the recipes seem a little more fancy schmancy than I expected. And by that I mostly mean some of the recipes require more than four ingredients. Cooking is not my forte but I'm trying to build a recipe arsenal to fall back. Easy being the key to good recipes for me. Black beans are also my friend.
6. Vanishing Acts. Three way friendship between 2 boys and 1 girl = someone’s a guaranteed third wheel. I’m not saying it'll always be a love triangle. But you definitely have someone out in the cold. Second, the dad in this book kidnapped his kid during a custody battle. I think I was supposed to feel torn about whether or not what he did was right. Except I didn’t. I’d get close. Like a breath away from snatching that kid and driving cross country myself but then I'd just come right back to "no." The mother had lots and lots of bad problems but she still loved that kid. Sue for custody. Require supervised visits. Whatever you gotta do. But you don’t steal a kid for 28 years. That breaks my heart. Your kid isn’t guaranteed a perfect parent. If you chose to have kids with someone less than perfect then you deal with it. I would seriously hunt you down like a dog if you took my kid and robbed me of 28 years with them. Like a dog. 28 years, dude. 28 years. The other thing that really moved me in this book were the parts in prison. It sort of took my breath away to imagine the equivalent of my dad suddenly stuck in a maximum security section in prison. Except my dad doesn’t know any recipes for meth and would most likely annoy his cell mate debating politics.
7. Lovely Bones. Super well written. Intriguing as all get out. Flew through it. But it left me sort of melancholy. And I did not understand the love scene. But, dude, was it well written.
8. The Last Summer (of You & Me). I confess to being one of the grown adults that read the Traveling Pants series so this book was pretty much a gimme as soon as I spotted it at Target. It's pretty light and fluffy but I can't deny that I liked it. If I were the kind of girl that liked to lay next to the pool, this is exactly the sort of book I'd read while I was doing it. As I am not that kind of girl because I sunburn easily and don't enjoy sweating, I read it while soaking in the bathtub. But it was sweet and sort of charming.
9. Songs of the Humpback Whale. Yeah. So, this is the first Jodi Picoult book I didn’t like. I thought it jumped around way too much. I had trouble keeping track of when stuff was happening. And I hated the ending. No, really. Hated. Made no sense to me. Kept thinking there was no way it would end that way. And then it did. What the hell.
10. Eclipse and Breaking Dawn (Books 3 and 4 in the Twilight series). Thumbs up. I'm sold on Edward. So sold I saw the preview for the movie and even though I think the guy playing him seriously needs to brush his hair more often I totally made a mental note of when it's coming out. Holla. Several people have told me they don't understand the whole Twilight thing. I seriously feel you. I do. I'm not into vampires. And, yes, I think the stories are getting more and more far fetched. For example, how the hell does no one notice that they never eat? And what about all the hissing? And the plot of book 4 is based around an even more far fetched concept. No joke. But I don't know. I guess I just decided to roll with it. In the words of my high school English teacher when my entire class complained about how implausible Frankenstein was, "Suspend your disbelief." If you do, you'll like the books a lot more. And try to imagine Dylan McKay is Edward. Although Edward got a little overbearing at times. If Dylan McKay had tried to tell me I couldn't go hang out with Brandon Walsh, I'd have told him to take a flying leap. Although then Edward does a total about face and becomes a giant marshmallow that lets Bella do whatever she wants in book 4 so whatever. I mean I don’t want some dude that’s never going to never listen to me but sometimes it's okay to say "no" to a person.