I’ve been managing my “read 25 books this year” goal pretty well…I just finished book 15 (People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks, which I’d recommend). For those of you keeping track , I am reading Sophie Kinsella’s Remember Me?, which was on my list of books I wanted to read this summer.
I wanted to talk about the two books I read, 13 and 14.
The first was the Ann Packer novel, The Dive from Clausen’s Pier. I’m not spoiling anything when I tell you the book opens with Carrie’s boyfriend Mike having a diving accident that leaves him comatose. Adding into the issues Carrie confronts in dealing with the aftermath is that she was outgrowing the relationship before the accident took place (she and Mike were high school sweethearts, now engaged). The book portrays Carrie as she deals with the accident and makes choices that affect everyone around her.
This was a weird book for me because although I liked the writing and the book, I really didn’t like Carrie very much. Not so much because of her doubts about her future with Mike, but how she treats people in general. I thought I would have more empathy, but I found her character to be flaky and impulsive in ways that tended to hurt other people. I was surprised at the fact I disliked her so much.
The second book was Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? This was a totally fun book that I read in a day, detailing Kaling’s life from nerdy schoolgirl to Hollywood medium-to-bigwig-dom. Kaling has a brilliant chapter on peaking in high school that pretty much sums up my thoughts on the subject as well (ie, it’s kind of sad if high school was the best time of your life…).
One of the things I liked so much was how “regular person”-like Kaling seems. She’s part of Hollywood, but doesn’t put on airs about what got her there. I also found it interesting reading her take on being a normal size woman in a “you must be skinny” business. She tells a revealing story about doing a “People‘s Most Beautiful” shoot with her colleague Ellie Kemper and how the only dress that would fit her “large” (size 8) frame was hideously unflattering. The other dresses (size 4, thank you very much), were beautiful, so she put her foot down and insisted that she wear one of those, much to the clothing stylist’s dismay (the dress had to be dismantled to work). I remember that issue and how pretty Kaling and Kemper looked and how I was surprised to learn they were both Ivy Leaguers (Dartmouth for Kaling; Princeton for Kemper–the section they were in was on beautiful smarties). So, it was fun to learn the back story.
Needless to say, I would totally recommend Kaling’s book as a great summer/beach read. I would recommend Dive as well, when you’re in the mood for something more serious!
Do you have a preference for light versus heavy reads, or does it depend?