The Comeback Season

It is late and I should be going to bed. This is a sad book to finish on.

“It’s a kind of sadness that has lodged itself in the back of her throat like a pill that refuses to go down.”

I thought that line summed up Ryan, she is so tenuously holding on. Her father died five years ago and she is finding it difficult to move forward. Her freshman year hasn’t been good. And she is a Cubs fan. Fittingly she is also cautiously hopeful. She meets Nick at the opening day of Wrigley Field. And in him there is more to hope for, which means of course tragedy is on the horizon. Of course, can’t write a book in which being a Cubs fan is a metaphor or a road map to life without tragedy on the horizon. Which I say pretty flippantly because I think in the long run the metaphor, and the conceit of bargaining annoyed me. But there were some pretty moments in Smith’s writing. It was atmospheric, textured, full of the sorrow like that unswallowed pill.

I will post a follow up tomorrow but here is how I stand -H

This was 246 pages – 3 hrs 20 min Totals – 2486 pages (not counting the 32 on the book I gave up on) and 26 hrs 50 min. Less pages than last year but no books in verse either.

Books read – 9, Blog Entries 8 – cuz I combined 2 books.

Best Book – My Most Excellent Year

Least Fave -ummmmm other than the one I put down???  Liked them all enough.

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My Most Excellent Year

. . .is a most excellent book.  A laugh out loud, cry a little, believe in the magic of people kind of book.  And I say that even though I hate Red Sox fans, before ’04 I thought they were neurotic whiners, and now they are just smugly neurotic which is a difficult feat to pull off.  And  one of the main characters is not only a Red Sox fan he is named after some unfortunate hitter who got hit in the face with a fast ball, apparently he (the player) was quite the hitter beforehand and well, getting hit in the head with a fastball can ruin a career but this one made a fairly remarkable comeback.   And so the Red Sox plays prominently into this but its Boston so the Kennedy’s do as well, and then there is Mary Poppins.  God, I hope Julie Andrews is half the person they make her out to be in this book.  Seriously.

Told my 3 different people – TC, Augie, and Ali and peppered with IMS and emails from various other people My Most Excellent Year is charming.  However after the third read aloud to my ever so patient husband because I had laughed aloud he asked me “Is that really a Ya book?  because would teens get the references?”  which to be fair he had a point but since it was really about relationships I am not sure it’d matter too much.  But it is much more fun when you do understand the argument about JFK and Bobby Kennedy, and Bucky Fucking Dent (i mean i know all you east coast baseball types get it but come on), and Liza Minelli and well there is more such as All About Eve and Ingrid Bergman and Manzanar and baseball.  And Buck Weaver, and how John Cusak playing Buck Weaver probably did more for his reputation than anything else (and yes, he got screwed – Buck Weaver that is).

OK Pages – 403, Time 3.5 hours

My Lost and Found Life

Ashley was the rich homecoming queen with $300 jeans, $500 purses, and an easy life.  Until her mother disappears, accused of embezzling a million dollars.  Now she is losing everything – her friends, her home, her future.  And so it is time to fins a way to live, which is how she ends up living in a trailer behind a gas station and working in a coffee shop.  Ashley never really struck me as a roll over kind of girl so it isn’t all that surprising that she is a survivor, and prett successful at it.  But in truth it is probably on in books or movies that you survive that well, if you call living in a RV with no water or electricity surviving well.  Its just she does have people step up to help her out.  I guess that could happen.  And no one goes too out of their way.  Her friend Nic’s mom is a cardboard villian of the finest order, but the rest of the cast seem like real people.  I didn’t have to suspend disbelief too much.

I think I need a break.

312 pages, 3.5 hours Totals – Pages 1837 Time 20.5 hrs

How Not to Be Popular

I never finished Stargirl, she just annoyed me a little too much.  Maggie’s attempts to be not popular, which backfire, are a little more, well real.  They are selfish, and hurtful, and as she finally realizes not all that different than trying to be popular.  I get it, here she is on her 10th high school!!!!  that is a lot of coming and going, a lot of leaving.  And she is 100% convinced this is another temporary stop.  This is a weird kind of take off on the teen movie where the unpopular girl becomes popular, John Hughes-like.  In my generation it was Pretty in Pink (well, sort of) and wasn’t there some move with Rachel Leigh Cook and Freddie Prinz Jr.?  Reading this felt like watching a movie.  Which isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy it, because I did.  I liked all the “characters” but it did have an unrealistic Hollywood movie tone to it.    Who doesn’t enjoy one of those now and then?

Pages :339 Read time : 2 hrs 45 minutes   Totals: Pages 1529 Time 17hrs (give or take 5 min)

Vampire Academy

I said I needed something light and ridiculous, and well, I basically got it.  The Vampire Academy novels are a cross between Gossip Girls, Harry Potter and . .  .  lets see character at boarding school with mysterious power – check, hot guys and mean girls – check, plus we have smartass narrator,  forbidden attraction, lurking danger, and oh yeah – vampires both good and evil.  Still I enjoyed it.  I am a sucker for a smart ass narrator even if she didn’t use the snarky tone enough when narrating.  It was good light beach reading – even though we are talking vampires.  However – this is not necessarily for Twilight fans. 95 % of the time these are just humans with their cliques, and rebellion, and relationships – the Gossip Girl aspect.  5% of the time there is suspenseful action.  But there is none of the tedious nobleness of the Cullen family. (And the tending toward controlling male domination of Edward)  Then again there is DImitri . .

I read the first 2 in the series Vampire Academy – 331 pages and Frostbite 327 pages = 658.  Total read time 7.5 hrs

Where People Like Us Live

“I’m not a philosopher, but it seems that if you stand up for something you believe in, there are always consequences, even if you don’t get socked in the stomach.”

Libby’s family moves a lot.  She has never really had a best friend, and certainly not one like Angie.  For a 14 year old, Libby is remarkably naive, and a little young.  Her family lives on the edge of survival and she knows it but she is remarkably optimistic, or at least placid about her life.   Angie, is not.  She lives on her own edge of survival as well.

Where people like us live may wrap up a little neat but it is an uncomfortable ride getting there, and given the subject matter it should be.

Pages =210 Total = 528, Hours = 1 hr 40 min Total 6 hrs, 40 min

Meanwhile my husband has finished the door and is working on installing the new toilet.  Good thing he is so patient with me.  🙂

Now I must read something light hearted.

The Fortunes of Indigo Skye

What would you do if someone gave you a 2.5 million dollar tip.  Indigo Skye likes being a waitress, but sometimes she can’t keep her mouth shut.  Which results in the biggest tip she has ever received.  She is certain the money won’t change her, but it does.  And it changes those around her.

One thing that felt off to me about the book, is I thought she had a little right to be mad at Trevor, her boyfriend.   He did seem a little obsessed with the money.

I like Deb Caletti.  I really loved The Nature of Jade. She writes about real people – and she does it well.

I guess forgiveness, like happiness, isn’t a final destination.  You don’t one day get there and get to stay.

Her real people sometimes end up in unreal situations, like a 2.5 million dollar tip but how they handle it seems true.  “Insist on yourself”, what Indigo Skye finally comes to.

2 books down, this one was 298 pages for a total of 318 pages. Time reading for this book 2.5 hours.  Will total later.