2016: 39.-42. Random Book Roundup

Herein are capsule reviews of books I read, but don’t think I have the energy to devote an entire blog post too (and my backlog is getting no shorter, so let’s bust these four out):

We are on our way to the hospital, Ryan’s father says.

Listen to me, Son:

You are not going to bleed to death.

39. Await Your Reply, Dan Chaon

This is a perfectly fine thriller type novel, and if I had written about it back in January when I read it, I am sure I’d have much more to say.  Indeed, I see it was named as “one of the best novels of the year” by a number of well respected papers (WaPo, EW, NPR, even Janet Maslin).  But honest to God, now that it’s March I can tell you I remember almost nothing about it.  I know that there were three strangers whose lives sort of intersected around a troubled man, who seems, at the end to be (SPOILER) the same guy.  And that they all went off to find him at the end and (SPOILER) failed.  Which I get, that is how life works, but I found it totally unsatisfying. I am sure you’d like this book if you read it - many, many prominent people did.  And I read it and remember reading it quickly, but for whatever reason, it has barely left a trace on my brain.  Sorry, Dan Chaon.

40.

The shops stand three across: mine in the middle, Dennis Vaughan’s to my left and Libby Getchel’s to my right, fronting on Main Street in Harrow, Massachusetts.

The Way Men Act- Elinor Lipman

I went through a big Lipman phase a while back, enjoying them for the fluffy ladies books they are (sorry, Jen Weiner, you know who you are are).  So I grabbed this one on a one dollar sale wrack and thought I’d give it a go.  And I read the whole thing, and it was a fine distraction.  But my lord, it is sooooo dated.  I mean, it was written in 1992, and it just screams 1992.  Not the fashion and lifestyle or what have you, but the feminism.  And the way women think about men, and the racial stuff, and the mean girlism and how pitiful everyone is generally.  I couldn’t find my self able to like, or even worse respect a single character.  It was reading an episode of Caroline in the City. Take charge of your lives ladies! Dump your mean friends! Tell that guy you like him!! I mean, it works out in the end, but only old fashioned mores kept the plot running.  I’d give it a pass.

41. 

Lady Winwood being denied, the morning caller inquired with some anxiety for Miss Winwood, or, in fact, for any of the young ladies.

The Convenient Marriage, Georgette Heyer

A very Heyer-esque plot.  The dashing Earl of Rule proposes marriage to Lizzie Winwood, but Lizzie is in love with another.  Knowing the family is on the brink of collapse, Lizze’s sister Horatia (called Horrie) takes it upon herself to go over and propose they marry instead.  Liking her spunk Rule accepts, and they intend to enter upon a marriage of conveince.  Which they do, but after number of twists and scrapes it ends up being DUN DUN DUN TRUE LOVE.

I couldn’t like this one as much as Cotillion, frankly because of the hero.  He was 35, she was seventeen.  He is very much in the Mr Rochester mode, knows all, is smarter than her, overpowers her foolish plots, saves her at the end, etc.  It reads much more like a (better written) than Cotillion, in which a foolish bride and a foolish groom find each other (and in which the lady  really has the upper hand the whole time).  Here, Rule is obviously running the show, and it bummed it me out.  I like my ladies sassy, not my men overpowering.

42. 

"Commander Dagliesh was not unused to being urgently summoned to non-scheduled meeting with unspecified people at incovenient times, but usually with on purpose in common: he could be confident that somewhere lay a dead body awaiting his attention.”

The Lighthouse, P.D. James

This is actually a quite delightful James, better than most of her late period Daglieshes, but I’ve read and blogged about it before, and so I don’t have too much new to say. Indeed, upon re-reading my review, I find it says exactly all I have to say, so read that instead.  :)

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017