It's been a long time since we had a Friday Reads & Recommends, yes?
First up: I made this Cheesy Baked Pasta With Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Eggplant for my vegetarian-ish friends tonight and it was YUMMY. It felt like the right spot between Grown Up Food and Easy Enough For Me To Make. (Also: No Onions Or Other Unpleasant Vegetables. Bonus points.)
I have read lots and lots and lots of online articles, but I haven't bookmarked any of them. SORRY. A lot of times I'll read something interesting on my phone and I don't really know how to save the link so I can easily (EASILY) go back to it later on the computer. I know. Lame. Not like I live with a Technology Professional or anything. So now I'm going to tell you about a bunch of books. BOOKS! How novel. (NOVEL! That was totally unintended. I am super proud of myself anyway.)
FIRST UP. Sisterland! I read this poolside in Cabo. I loved (loved loved loved loved) Prep, it's one of the very few books I've read more than once. I just think Curtis Sittenfeld is a genius when it comes to... I don't know, like the insecure female inner monologue. ANYWAY. This was not a masterpiece like Prep and there were parts of it that I really didn't like - at the same time I appreciate her writing. She has ways of saying things that make my brain whir. One of the best parts of this book is when the main character, a stay at home mom, is talking about her husband and his professional life and home life, how he figured out how to have the job and "us", but the main character has only figured out how to have "us". MAYBE I IDENTIFIED. I DON'T KNOW.
Then I read The Spectacular Now, because I've been seeing the movie previews and even though I am not inclined to like Shailene Woodley after seeing some of her interviews, I thought she was amazing in The Descendants SO. This was a bummer of a book, you guys. At first it's all about this super cocky, super likable high school boy, which is my favorite kind, and alcohol is not one of the YA Sacred Cows that makes me twitch. BUT. The girl character in this book sucks. SUCKS SO MUCH. It's like she's not even there. She's a cardboard cut out. She's a wisp. She's pointless. She makes no sense. The EX-girlfriend in this book is a thousand times more developed (and interesting) than the main girl. And since I really liked the beginning and I was pulling for the high school boy, this stunk.
Before those I finished To End All Wars on the plane. This book, THIS book is tremendous. And hopefully not just because it's the first WWI book I've managed to get through. I feel like I have a modicum of understanding now. Amazing! Also it zeroes in on real people, sharing their stories from long before the war until way after, and that makes it much less of a Boring History Book, you know? It's mainly about Britain and goes super in depth on suffragettes, conscientious objectors, and the socialist movement - things I knew absolutely nothing about, and now I think I could bore you to death on how all of those things interconnected with wartime. It reminded me a bit of Inferno (about WWII) in that it doesn't glorify war or its proponents at all, quite the opposite. And it has affected what I think about today's madness in Syria. Not that I will go into that here. HA HA HA.
(Also: Phillip is reading this book. As I type. PHILLIP. You can do it too, folks.)
Phillip read Lean In on our trip. And read so much of it to me that I feel Iike I read it too. Eh.
Before our trip I read The Demon Catchers of Milan because my dad handed me a little slip of paper with the title and author and said, "I GUARANTEE YOU WILL LIKE THIS BOOK." Aaaaand, I hate to say it, but I did. Even though it was overwrought, unbelievable (and I'm not talking about the demon part), and Twilighty in that our fearless heroine gets hooked up with a Family With Special Secret Gifts, it's about 1) THE SUPERNATURAL in 2) ITALY. I am guaranteed to like this book. Best thing about it: the crush remains unrequited and unencouraged. Worst thing about it: not sure how you write a whole book about exorcising demons without mentioning God. But that's just me.
Before THAT I read Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Book Store. Courtesy of EBJ. And I really really reeeeeeally wanted to love this book, but I knew the ending would disappoint. And it did. Sort of. It's like you KNOW Kelly should choose herself, but it's disappointing anyway? That. (Best thing about this book: Google/technology is like a full fledged character. Super interesting. Have passed it on to a tech nerd so he can tell me which parts are actually real.)
Oh and somewhere in there I read Life After Life. Have I already written about it? I loved it. It was amazing. I want to re-read it and make a timeline/take notes. I feel like it went on a little too long? I feel like the perfect ending was right there and then I was surprised when that wasn't the end? But I thought this was amazing. (Note: I should say I didn't think it was amazing until Ursula starts trying to beat the Spanish flu. I think I only got what was going on at that point. But from then on: amazingness.)
Right now I am reading a $2.99 Kindle book about a WWII crash and rescue blah blah blah WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO RECOMMEND?
Oh! Other articles of note. The Rolling Stone feature on Macklemore? Excellent. The Mark Bowden piece in the Atlantic on drones? FUH-REAKY. The entire new issue of The New Republic? Fascinating. I need to subscribe to that again.
Okay, the end. Next week: Cabo recap! I mean it this time!