Wednesday, March 26, 2014

14 in '14 March Update

If you've been here long enough, you know the gist. I wrote a post about books I wanted to read this year. You can read January and February's posts here (or click on the specific month). 

I'm not going to lie, the books I read this month were a major disappointment. Bummer! 

Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?

I was so disappointed in this book. I really, really wanted to like it and had high hopes for it. I find Mindy Kaling hilarious, but unfortunately this book was not. I guess I was hoping that it'd be like Tina Fey's book and be a memoir about her life so far with funny high-jinx  and awesome anecdotes about her childhood. Instead, she breezed through the really interesting part of her life where she "became famous" and wrote a bunch of random chapters. Seriously, the way she wrote it, she wrote one really great play with her friend that got her noticed and she magically became a writer for The Office. There has to be so much more to it than that, like failed plays or hilarious moments when they realized they were going to make it...something!

I was just expecting so much more from Mindy, although I'd still recommend it if someone liked her. 

The Partly Cloudy Patriot

I really wanted to like this book. How great would it have been for me, a history major, to be able to say, "this book is awesome please go read it and have fun learning about history from a woman who is around our ages, instead of some old man who farts dust and writes boring history books?" (Because that's how I feel about most books written about history: dull and boring.)

I really wanted to be able to tell you that. 

But no, what Sarah Vowell wrote was unremarkable and left me literally skipping pages and even whole chapters and then wondering what the book was even about. The description of her book reads, in part:

Sarah Vowell travels through the American past and, in doing so, investigates the dusty, bumpy roads of her own life. In this insightful and funny collection of personal stories Vowell -- widely hailed for her inimitable stories on public radio's This American Life -- ponders a number of curious questions: Why is she happiest when visiting the sites of bloody struggles like Salem or Gettysburg? Why do people always inappropriately compare themselves to Rosa Parks? Why is a bad life in sunny California so much worse than a bad life anywhere else? What is it about the Zen of foul shots? And, in the title piece, why must doubt and internal arguments haunt the sleepless nights of the true patriot?
Where the heck was that book?  

What I was expecting was a collection of personal histories of Vowell peppered with historical fact, almost like a story within a story. Instead, what I read were chapters like the one that was devoted entirely to her boss who sold maps. That's it, there's no funny story behind it, or some interesting moment about finding the Bermuda Triangle, or anything like that. That particular chapter left me literally asking out loud, "WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THAT?" Can you tell it still kind of perturbs me?

To put it quite frankly, it sucked and I'm really not looking forward to checking out her other book on this list, Assassination Vacation, because Partly Cloudy Patriot left such a bad taste in my mouth, but for the sake of finishing this list I will at least give it a halfhearted try.

I will say this, the book gave me some great afternoon naps, so thanks for the beauty sleep, I guess.

Here is the list so far:

1. Where'd you go Bernadette?
2. Sacre Bleu
3. Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?
4. The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic
5. The Partly Cloudy Patriot
6. Assassination Vacation
7. The Alchemyst
8. The Graveyard Book
9. The Maze Runner
10. The Husband's Secret
11. Beauty Queens
12. The Dust of 100 Dogs
13. The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her own Making
14. The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books

What are some books you read this month? Did you like them?

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