Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Summer Reading Spectacular #6

I finished two books today, though I can't say I spent an inordinate amount of time reading. I was quite close to the end of one and the other was just a quick read.

This morning, while enjoying a cup of tea (Twinings Earl Grey) on the porch, I finished The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin. Not exactly the feel-good book of the year, it was a compelling, thought-provoking book about kids dealing with an erratic, abusive mother. The oldest (who narrates, writing a letter about their experiences to his youngest sister) sees a man stand up to a yelling father in a corner store and hangs his hopes on convincing that man to help. When his mother dates the hoped-for hero, things get more complicated. Part suspense thriller, part coming-of-age story, it was a National Book Award Finalist, and rightly so.

This evening, after supper, I went back onto the porch with another cup of tea (Coco Caramel from Teaopia) and finished Sexy by Joyce Carol Oates. Big Mouth & Ugly Girl, another novel by JCO, is on my shelf upstairs waiting to be read. A feel-good read? Not really. A popular teenager whos confidence and self-image are shaky at best discovers that his so-called friends are seeking revenge on a teacher by cooking up accusations of molestation. Although I found the book and Darren's struggle engaging (and a bit scary), the ending was distinctly unsatisfying for me. I don't mean, "It didn't end happily," because I'm by no means hooked on the Hollywood ending by any stretch; the final two chapters or so left me thinking, "Seriously? That's the ending? I read through an extra thirty pages for that?"

In the meantime, I've added two more books to my slate. (I am always reading several books at once, in case you haven't figured that out.)

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