Checked Out: Week 28

Once upon a time I worked in a library, but it was long ago in a place far away from here. And in that library I spent a lot of time in the shelves looking at book spines and making sure the correct books were in the correct spaces. Of course during that time in the stacks I also happened upon quite a few books I thought were interesting, and being the reader that I am, I often took a few of those books down during each trip and checked them out. For a select few I sat down right then and there on the step stool and read a few chapters before continuing on my shelf-reading expedition. And I saw those books that they were good.

I miss the library — the smell of old books mingling with the smell of the unwashed masses — and I still head to a library if there’s one nearby and I have a few moments to kill. Just being in the place centers me. Well, this summer has been a crazy one until this point, and as it winds down I find myself with a little bit of time to read again. It has been literally ages since I’ve had the opportunity to get close and personal with a few books so this is like heaven to me. Over the past few days I’ve been to a couple of libraries, and I came home with the ones who wanted desperately to jump into my bag and hitch a ride.

Here’s what I’ve Checked Out this week:

commute-picks-candace-bushnell-killing-monica1. If I Could Turn Back Time, by Beth Harbison

This could very well be one of those cheesy time-bending romantic romps, a la The Beach House, and it interestingly enough reminds me of a “13 Going on 30” in reverse, but what attracted me to it was the cover, as usual. The picture of three watches reclining on each other somehow resonated with me. I’ve never read anything by the author before, though, so we’ll see how well I take to the actual book when I get around to reading it. For now it sits on the shelf.

2. Killing Monica, by Candace Bushnell

Ah yes, the author of Sex and the City is still writing tomes celebrating fashion-conscious women in New York City, and this one is already seeming like a bit of a rehash. I warmed to One Fifth Avenue after a slow start, but I’ve already on Part Two of this erstwhile “masterpiece,” and I’m seeing a Carrie character all over again. I’m concerned that maybe Miss Bushnell ran out of other things and characters to talk about so she’s going back to the well once more. But she’s done it better before, and I’m concerned maybe her time has run out.

3. Who Do You Love, by Jennifer Weiner

Speaking of authors who tend to follow the same formula, Jennifer Weiner fits firmly into that category, but unlike Candace Bushnell, she doesn’t rely on the same rote types of characters to hang her hat on. Instead, she creates different, lush tapestries and interactions for her (usually) heroines. Even though her books still tend to be romantic mush with some twists and turns, they’re still funny, which keeps me coming back for more. This is her most recent novel.

ddddce8e961d49e3a67665657da34864-123f08b79e484fe0bd9cd9cdc0bf9ede-04. 41, by George W. Bush

This is of course W.’s homage to the one-term president who just happens to also be his father. A while back I read Decision Points and I loved the style of writing, so I’ve been looking forward to checking this one out. I wasn’t a big George H.W. Bush fan when he was president, but I have a fascination with all things presidential the older I get so just his place in history is interesting to ponder. I just hope the level of readability is still as high in this one as it was in Decision Points.

While I don’t usually get into non-fiction, if I’m going to read any non-fiction it’s going to generally be a biography or an autobiography, something I tend to share with my students. So I have three books checked out that fit similar themes, and one that is far afield from the others. Of course that means I’ll have to put down Killing Monica and get right into 41, just to keep things interesting.

Then when I’m done with these four it’s back to the library, to reminisce over those old book smells once more.

Sam

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