Things to Read - On the Bookshelf (April 2015)

Painted in Waterlogue

Some are most definitely better than others. I think from now on I'll star my favorites.

1. The Book of Unknown Americans - I didn't love this book, the main characters were likable enough (a Mexican couple who moves to America in order to find better schooling for their recently-disabled teenage daughter), but they didn't have much depth, nor did anyone else in the book - as if the world was simply divided into "good" people and "bad" people; although the novel is marketed for adults, it read like a young adult novel.

*****2. Spoiled Brats - SO FUNNY. At times I laughed out loud. Life through the perspective of a classroom pet. A man who accidentally pickles himself in the late 1800s and thus is forced to endure modern society (i.e Rip Van Winkle meets 2014). Though beware these stories definitely have an edge to them - is the author laughing at us or with us?

3. Friendship: A Novel - I didn't finish this book, despite finding it well written. The plot centers around the friendship of two girls in their mid-twenties. And reading it made me realize how very very far I am from my mid-twenties. So I stopped reading. When I feel a need to get back in touch with the younger generation, I'll watch a few episodes of HBO's Girls and call it a day.

*****4. The Reluctant Fundamentalist - READ THIS BOOK. Of all the books listed, The Reluctant Fundamentalist is BY FAR my favorite. In a Pakistani cafe, a local man decides to tell his story to an American tourist. This is the whole plot. But why is the American there? And why does the Pakistani feel a need to listen to him? As day turns to night, everything starts to seem sinister. Or does it? Or should it? I COULD NOT PUT THIS NOVEL DOWN.

5. Alias Grace - I'm a fan of Margaret Atwood, so I assumed I'd like this book. But it wasn't one of my favorites (I much prefer the Blind Assassin). Atwood based this novel on the true story of Grace Marks, a house maid in the late 1800s who killed her employer and his mistress. Atwood succeeds in making Marks a sympathetic character (Grace's backstory was my favorite part of the novel), but a lot of the story still seems unfinished somehow. As if Atwood herself couldn't decide on the guilt or innocence of the character she created.

6. Creative Block: Get Unstuck, Discover New Ideas. Advice & Projects from 50 Successful Artists - Fifty artists (all very different). Fifty interviews. Lots of project ideas. I'm slowly making my way through it all, but so far, this is a great book to pick up when you're feeling "stuck".

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