12 August 2012

Recent Reads

I've finished a few very different books lately, and here are my thoughts on them.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

This was the first library book I got on my Kindle Fire!  Actually, I had it on hold and it came through while we were in Houston.  I was able to "check out" the book while on vacation!  I'm officially SOLD on fancy technology now.

As for the book, I liked it!  Mindy Kaling is a writer and actress from The Office (she plays Kelly Kapoor).  Her writing was funny but honest.  She reminded me a ton of one of my good friends that I grew up with.  This book gave a look at her past but it also jumped around to her opinions on random stuff.  I loved her views on leaving a party without saying goodbyes (I had to share that one with B, since he absolutely hates that social convention) and about marriage not being "work."  While I have never been much of a fan of The Office, it was both Mindy's character Kelly and Ellie Kemper's character Erin to whom I always gravitated.  And gravitating toward Mindy is a good thing, since she has her own sitcom on FOX starting this fall!  It's called The Mindy Project, and you can watch a preview here.

My only gripe is that she kinda jumps around a lot in this book, going from childhood memory to a present-day opinion on a matter with no transition.  It's a little weird, but it actually kind of works.  Kind of.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Meh, this book didn't impress me.  B had read it already and has said the writing was like someone who hoped to get a movie deal out of it, not like someone who loved to write.  The book was about a traveling (train) circus during Depression-era America.  There was a naive college dropout and some villains, and of course a love interest.  All of the characters were pretty flat, and I wasn't exactly cheering for the main guy to get with the girl.  The story was also told switching back and forth between an old man in a nursing home getting ready to go to the circus and then him when he was younger actually working as the vet for a circus.

In my copy of the book, there was a "conversation with the author" in the back.  All it basically said was that she did a ton of research and found all of these great stories from traveling circuses back in the day.  Yeah, she threw every single one of them into this one fictional book.  It actually was a bit much.  Aside from learning some new terminology like "redlighting" (throwing someone from a moving train) and "First of May" (circus newbie), this book was not good.

However, since I do own it, and it's been made into a movie (which I have no desire to watch), and some people seemed to enjoy it, I will be leaving this one for Bookcrossing in order to cross it off my 101 list.

Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

This was another library Kindle download, that I just sort of chanced upon.  I've never even read the Twitter account that inspired this book (and the short-lived TV series), but I thought it might be funny to just read some quotes.  I was thinking of it like a coffee table book (which I realize now is one type of book these e-readers have basically killed, by the way).  I had no idea I'd be getting the memoirs of Justin and his dad, but that's what sucked me in.

It was a super-de-duper quick read, probably one day for most people (a week of bedtime reading for myself).  Each chapter starts out with a funny quote from the dad, and then the reader learns the context of that quote.  It's through this that you learn a short biography of both the father and the son, and more importantly, the quirks of their relationship.  Each chapter ends with a quote-dump from the dad, usually about five of them.  The dad likes to use a lot of profanity.

This book was okay, nothing spectacular (yet still sucked me in, like I said).  The dad had some decent insights into life, but nothing earth-shattering.  My book expired, so I can't even tell you my favorite quote now, although I think I bookmarked it.  I obviously don't care enough to go dig for it either.  Oh well.

Have you read any of these books?  What were your thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. I've been wanting to read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? but haven't gotten around to it! It is on my list for when I head to B&N tomorrow to pick up The Bloggess' book! I've read the book on my iPad, but am meeting her and need the actual book for her to sign! That's the downside of these electronic books too... Nice reviews!
    I never even gave Water for Elephants a chance since I heard so much "blahness" about it!