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Reviewin' with My Sister

My sister Jenny and I have vastly different taste in books. Because I was an English major in college and therefore a bit of a literary snob, I sometimes take a little bit too much perverse pleasure in judging teasing her about her book tastes.

She loves to read teen chick lit books like Meg Cabot and Sarah Dessen. And while I’m no Proust scholar, I tend to read things I believe have more substance. It honestly pains me to see my smart, funny, articulate sister sitting down to read The Princess Diaries III yet again (she claims to have read it at least 15 times). I could go into a long rant about my reasons why, but I’ll spare you 🙂

To give you a sense of what we’re talking about, here are lists of our top ten favorite books. I’ll note that Jenny had a relatively easy time coming up with her list; I agonized over mine, and am still not quite sure it’s right.

Jenny’s Top 10 All Time
Favorite Books EVER
Kim’s Top 10 Favorite Books Ever (Subject to Change)
1. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

2. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

3. The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

5. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

6. The Princess Diaries Book 3: Princess in Love by Meg Cabot*

7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

8. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

9. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

10. The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory

1. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffinger

2. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

3. A Prayer for the City by Buzz Bissinger

4. The New, New Journalism by Robert S. Boynton

5. We Were the Mulvaney’s or The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates**

6. His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman

7. This Day: Diaries From American Women by Joni B. Cole, Rebecca Joffrey, and B.K. Rakhra

8. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

9. Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress by Sarah Jane Gilman

10. Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni

The idea of doing sister co-reviews came from a slightly snobby Christmas present I gave Jenny.  This year I gave her a copy of Loved Walked In (a romance I got the impression has a level of literary value lacking from some of her other books), along with a list other appropriately “literary” romances for her to read. Jenny took my “gift” with good humor and I thought that was the end of it.

While on our trip to San Francisco, Jenny told me that I should be proud of her: she had picked out an appropriately literary book all by herself that I had to read. After some discussion, we decided I would read the book and then we would do a review together so she could be “famous” on my blog.

sisterhood button 200pxFor the last week or so, we’ve been trading e-mails back and forth for our review of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter (coming tomorrow). It’s been so much fun that we decided to turn this into a regular feature over the summer: The Sisterhood of the Summer Reviews. (That’s me on the left, and her on the right).

Over the next few months, she’ll be reading my favorite fiction book, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and I’ll be reading her favorite, The Truth About Forever. Yep, that’s right folks… this literary snob is going to sit down with Sarah Dessen this summer. Yay?

Anyway, I think this will be a fun way to introduce a new perspective to the blog and help me spend some time trying to convince my sister that there is good literature out there. And who knows, maybe I’ll be taken down a notch and have to admit she doesn’t read just trash!

* “All of them are really good but number three is by far my absolute favorite” — Jenny
** I can’t really choose one over the other — they are equally as awesome.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Amanda June 4, 2009, 8:23 am

    That’s a really cool idea. I wish I could do something like that with either of my sisters, but sadly, neither of them read much at all.

  • Jackie (Farm Lane Books) June 4, 2009, 8:32 am

    Great idea! I agree with Amanda – my sister doen’t read anything, so you are lucky you can at least share your love for reading. I’m sure you’ll be able to find quite a few books that you’d both enjoy. With your sister mentioning To Kill a Mockingbird I’m sure you’ll tastes will merge as you get older.

  • bermudaonion June 4, 2009, 11:15 am

    This is fantastic! I love the old picture of the two of you with a book. I’m looking forward to this feature.

  • Molly June 4, 2009, 11:31 am

    I LOVE this idea and look forward to reading the join reviews!

  • Heather June 4, 2009, 11:40 am

    This is a terrific idea. My older sister reads tons but rarely goes near a computer, so no chance, and my younger sister doesn’t make much time for reading…

    My daughter might be a different story. She has written a review for class and is thinking about letting me reprint it on my blog.

  • Lu June 4, 2009, 12:01 pm

    Anyone who says The Things They Carried is a ok in my book 🙂

    I might have to try this with my sister! She’s 14 and I get all my YA recommendations from her. This is adorable!!

  • Florinda June 4, 2009, 12:11 pm

    Such a fun idea! I’d love to try this with my sister, but she just doesn’t have as much time to read as I do, so I don’t think she’d be up for it…now. Maybe when her kids are a few years older?

    Re: #5 on your list – those are my two favorite Joyce Carol Oates novels too, and I also have trouble choosing between them!

  • Susannah June 4, 2009, 12:21 pm

    What an awesome idea! I’ve never been a big fan of the book group idea, but this seems like a great way to connect with each other while still trying something new. Wish I could do that with someone 🙂

    My tastes trend a bit toward yours, Kim, but right now I am just craving fluff that I can read in the sun or in the bathroom or anywhere that can get me to break the sludge off of my computer-addled brain.

    Maybe you should both try Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

  • uncertainprinciples June 4, 2009, 5:19 pm

    Hey, she’s got To Kill A Mockingbird, Catcher In The Rye, Pride & Prejudice and The Secret Life of Bees – that sounds pretty ‘literary’ to me!

    This seems like a really fun thing to do – looking forward to reading your review(s). I read Memory Keeper’s Daughter last year, and thought it was quite good.

  • Jenny aka "Sister" June 4, 2009, 6:06 pm

    I do think that you underestimated me and my literary taste. I read To Kill a Mockingbird on my own before it was assigned for class reading, but Catcher in the Rye, The Secret Life of Bees, and The Things they Carried were all books I was assigned to read in High School. I would just like to also say that all of the book except for number 10 have been read more than once, so even if we read them for school I did read them again on my own.
    I think that I just enjoy reading “fluff” books because they provide entertainment value and while I appreciate and enjoy good literature I like to read for entertainment much of the time. This is especially true when I am in school and reading such fascinating books as Introduction to Building Materials and Modern Architecture. Plus as Kim well knows I like a good love story (many of which occur in what she considers “fluff” books) whether in a books, movies or television, I am all for people falling in love 🙂

  • Jessi June 4, 2009, 6:24 pm

    What a great idea! I feel ya, Kim: I also majored in English (and now I teach it to 10th graders for a living), and my little sister is currently reading James Patterson. Yikes. I wonder if she’d be up for something like this…

    In defense of your sister, though, some of those titles aren’t too bad. 🙂 Can’t wait to read what you both thought of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – that’s one book my sister and I both enjoyed. Enjoy the Sarah Dessen!

  • Rebecca Reid June 5, 2009, 8:42 am

    I consider myself a literary snob too but my favorite list would have more in common with your sister’s list than with yours.
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger are some of my favorite books. None of your favorites are on any of my lists at all.

  • Memory June 5, 2009, 10:30 am

    I love this idea! I can’t wait to see what you each think of the other’s picks.

  • Joanne June 5, 2009, 4:21 pm

    This is awesome! I think it’s a great idea, and I wouldn’t complain too much – at least your sister is a reader regardless of what she reads (lol) I think it would be worse to have non-readers in a family. Her list wasn’t all that bad – although I’d rather have my teeth pulled than read a Princess Diaries book 😛

  • Care June 6, 2009, 3:13 pm

    Welcome Sister! Get ready for celebrity; your sis Kim is a ‘hot ticket’. This will be fun.
    (oh, but the Nanny Diaries, are you kidding me?!)

  • Kristina June 10, 2009, 7:40 am

    I can’t wait! This sounds like great fun!!