Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Summer Reading

Mostly, it's been a Bill Bryson summer. It is unusual for Joe and me to be reading the same author, much less the same books simultaneously. But that's what we've had these past few months. Joe had picked up A Walk in The Woods at the used book sale. He laughed outloud so many times, and shared so many choice tidbits that I had to read it myself. For our trip to Greece he bought The Lost Continent and I got In a Sunburned Country. All have been marvelous. Bryson writes hilarious and insightful travel essays that make for excellent summer reading as each chapter is self-contained. His writing is picturesque and occasionally heartwarming.

Then, of course, I read HP7, and agreed with everyone that it was excellent and there will be no spoilers or further discussion here. Just read it, already. You know you will eventually.
I'm such a sucker for medical memoirs, hospital stories, physicians' insights. I swear, if I ever had a previous life, I must have been a doctor. Hot Lights, Cold Steel by Michael Collins showed up on my Amazon "Recommended For You" list, so I got it from the library. It is about the residency period of an orthopedic surgeon and isn't one of the best medical tales I've picked up. There are a couple of interesting chapters, but by and large it is pretty obvious that he has written it far too many years since the occurrences. Worth a C+ -- a tad above average, IMNSHO.
Cheryl Strayed's novel Torch also came to me through the Amazon recommendation system and this was a good book. I'd give it a B+. A woman who is a bit of a legend in her town is struck with cancer and within a few weeks is gone. Torch tells about various styles of survivors coping with such a situation. The husband, the son, the daughter -- each has to mourn in his or her own way. Two of them are better portrayed than the third. I left the book still concerned about the son's potential for full recovery.
Thomas Mallon's Aurora 7 is such an unusual book! It was Maggie's choice for the neighborhood book club, "The Bookies," and we'll be discussing it on Thursday night. The entire novel takes place on a single day in 1962, the day of Scott Carpenter's space flight. There are many vignettes, many minor characters, but the center of the book is an 11-year-old boy whose life somehow becomes intertwined with Carpenter's -- a little bit the way ET and Elliott became connected -- and it is just a lovely book. A quick read that is not my usual thing and easily earns an A-.

3 comments:

DPUTiger said...

I "read" a Walk in the Woods as I was driving across the country. It definitely made me want to hike the AT! I adored HP7. It could not have been better IMHO. I'll have to check out those other Brysons when I get back some reading time!

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

I'm feeling woefully behind in my reading... gotta get my hands on HP7, I'm waiting on someone else to finish up... I know, excuses, excuses.

LutheranChik said...

Oh, I LOVE Bill Bryson! He makes me laugh out loud! I recall getting some strange looks chuckling over him in the bookstore. In a Sunburnt Country, about Bryson's adventures in Australia, is one of my favorite books of his.