At the end of 2011, I stole an idea from Lu (Regular Rumination) to write super-short reviews for books that I hadn’t written full reviews about. I liked that idea so much, that I’m going to try to keep it up this year and do some summary posts of short reviews every three months. These are books that, for whatever reason, I didn’t feel like writing full reviews for but still wanted to at least mention.
Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Lost Adventures by Brian Konietzko — This book is a collection of short comics set during the time covered during the television series, Avatar: The Last Airbender. I was obsessed with this series last summer, so of course I was excited to pick up this comic to revisit that world. I think anyone who is familiar with Avatar will find something to enjoy with this book (it’s quite funny, and answers lots of little questions that cropped up in the series), but if you’re not an Avatar fan it’s probably not worth picking up.
Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl — Garlic and Sapphires is restaurant critic Ruth Reichl’s memoir about her time as the restaurant critic for The New York Times. To help keep her identity a secret and get a more honest look at how restaurants treat the average customer, Reichl adopted a series of disguises that she wore while eating out for her reviews. As one might expect from a restaurant critic, Reichl writes beautifully and seductively about food, but the book also explores issues of identity and family quite well.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green — I’m not writing a full review of The Fault in Our Stars because, honestly, I’m not sure what to say. There was no way that a book about teenagers with terminal cancer who fall in love wasn’t going to tear my heart out and leave me a blubbering mess, it was just really a matter of how we got there. And The Fault in Our Stars gets there much the way other John Green books get to the emotional climax. Per usual, Green’s writing was beautiful and funny and smart and his characters were quirky and slightly-too-smart. It’s hard to fault a book with paragraphs like this one, anyway:
Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless all lving humans read the book. And then there are books like An Imperial Afflition, which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal.
One Day by David Nicholls — I actually listened to this one as an audio book and, on the whole, I didn’t love it. I think it took me a couple of months to finish it because I never really felt compelled to listen to it outside the times when I had long drives (not many). I though both of the main characters, Dex and Emma, were rather unpleasant… it was hard to see what they saw in each other, a lot of the time. But, I did like the way Nicholls wrote about growing up and the uncertainty it brings. That felt authentic to me.
Bitter Is the New Black by Jen Lancaster — You may remember that I was not a fan of the first Jen Lancaster book that I read, My Fair Lazy. While I liked Bitter Is the New Black (Lancaster’s first memoir) better than My Fair Lazy, I still found big chunks really, really unfunny. Even when she was supposed to be seeing the light and becoming less of an awful person, I just didn’t get into it. I just don’t think Lancaster and I have a compatible sense of humor. Oh well!