Right after school lets out (which, due to a strike and ALL THOSE SNOW DAYS this year, was much later than usual), we like to have a long weekend getaway. Due to circumstances, this will probably be our only summer vacation this year, so we made the most of it. Four days at a lovely resort, including a poolside cabana, and LOTS of reading was what I wanted and what I got. I managed to read five books, more or less, during that time.
Here’s what I read (in reading order):
Frog Music by Emma Donoghue — I started this one before vacation began, but finished it during. So it counts, right? This is a historical mystery is by the author of Room (which I haven’t read yet despite all of the great things I’ve heard about it). Set in San Francisco in the late 1870s, this is a story of an unlikely friendship between two very different women and the life of immigrants in America’s burgeoning western economy, as well a murder mystery. The “frog” in the title has two connotations, for the amphibians one of the main characters catches and sells to local restaurants and also the derogatory term used for the French.
Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger by Elizabeth Harbison — I’ll admit it. I chose this book because of the title. And the cover. It just looked like a vacation book. Turns out I was right, it read like one too. Quick, light, amusing chick lit. I finished it in a day. Nothing too serious and I’m not sure I ever really cared about the characters, but I did appreciate some of the quirkier ones. Quinn almost marries Burke, but his brother (and best man!), Frank, stops her minutes before the ceremony by telling her that Burke’s been cheating on her. So she runs away with Frank to Las Vegas to clear her head. Only thing is, that makes the whole situation even more muddled. Flash forward ten years and Quinn still hasn’t dealt with her feelings for either brother. When they both come back to town for their grandmother’s wedding and to sell the family horse farm, all heck breaks loose in Quinn’s life. This book is filed under the subject heading Triangles (Interpersonal Relations) — Fiction. Um, duh.
My Venice by Donna Leon — After reading this, I’m not sure that Ms. Leon likes anything. In this collection of essays, she pretty much complains about everything — the United States and its inhabitants, her neighbors in Venice and in the Italian countryside, most countries in the Middle East, the mob, hunting and hunters, men in general, books, operas other than those by Handel, ALL music by people other than Handel, etc. The list goes on and on. I was talking with a library user about this book before I read it myself. She had read it already and was picking it up for her husband. She mentioned that she thoroughly enjoyed Leon’s mysteries, but wished that she hadn’t read this book because now she didn’t like Ms. Leon very much. Now, I understand what this lady meant.
Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story by Peter Bagge — I share a birthdate with Margaret Sanger — September 14th. She’s been on the periphery of my knowledge for a while — advocate for birth control and free love, socialist and all-around rabble-rouser. My kind of gal! When I saw this graphic novel biography, I figured this would be a fairly quick way to find out more about her, and it was. Let me tell you, Margaret Sanger was a hoot! She seemed to always have a snappy comeback for her critics, one that usually ended up making them look foolish. She really knew her way around propaganda, too. But she was also a difficult personality sometimes, especially for her family, and she usually didn’t get along with other women leaders. This book has led me to want to know more about Sanger. Thankfully, the author lists a bibliography of sources, and his opinion of each, at the end. Note: The font size for the forward and afterward of this graphic novel is very small. A magnifying glass may be required.
The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski by Samantha Geimer — You probably wouldn’t know her just by hearing her name. Add on the name of Roman Polanski and, for those of us of a certain age, you now know EXACTLY who she is. Samantha was just 13 years old when Roman Polanski came into her life for only a few days, but with impact that would last a lifetime. In 2009, when Polanski was arrested for fleeing the United States prior to the sentencing for his crime of unlawful sex with a minor, Samantha knew it was time for her to tell her story. Especially since others had been telling it for her, incorrectly, for over 30 years.
Happy Summer Reading!