Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What I've Read Lately

Library school has begun, and I am a busy little bee day-in and day-out. I can barely find time to go to the grocery store, so I certainly haven't found much time to blog about what I've been reading lately (which, actually, has been a lot, thanks to my 2.5 hour total commute to and from class on Mondays and Tuesdays!).  Here's a quick rundown. I have more to come:

Carolina Moon by Jill McCorkle — It's been a while, Jill. Colin had me read a story from an F. Scott Fitzgerald collection called "The Ice Palace," which features a girl from the South. After that, I knew it'd been too long since I'd read some Southern lit, and McCorkle is my go-to. Carolina Moon is about a small town in North Carolina and the eccentric folk whose lives seem to all intersect at a "cigarette rehab" called Quee's Place. McCorkle is so good at storytelling—weaving the lives and histories of these people together, overlapping yet creating unique stories. Even a murder mystery is thrown in to spice things up a notch. The characters are always the best part of McCorkle books, because they're so detailed. One section was so beautifully written that I completely teared up. Overall, not as good as Ferris Beach, my McCorkle fave, but still satisfying.

I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk — I was looking for something lighthearted and sorta mindless before I embarked upon the massive Wolf Hall for my February World Reading choice. This is the story of a Londoner, Angela, who gets jilted by her longtime fiancee at her best friend's wedding and escapes to the Big Apple to find herself and put her life back together. I do like chick-lit, but I'm a little critical when it's about New York. Chick-lit always plays up the stereotypes of the city, when I think it should be more realistic. Exhibit A) Angela gets a cab from the airport and asks the driver to take her to "any hotel," at which point he rudely screams obscenities at her with what was some sort of New York accent. For one, cab drivers are usually on their hands-free device speaking to someone in their native tongue to bother speaking to their passengers. Secondly, in 2000, 84% of cab drivers were foreign-born. The chances of getting a stereotypical guy from Queens as your cab driver are incredibly slim if not completely unrealistic. Exhibit B) Angela goes shopping on Broadway in Soho midday and it's described as relatively calm. FALSE. Broadway in Soho is hell 24/7. I have strong feelings about that street, which was why I found it necessary to point out.

But anyway, like every chick-lit novel, I totally got sucked in and ended up really enjoying it. I find the whole "New York as mecca to find yourself" theme to be total crap, because this city is pretty rough; nothing happens as easily in real life as it happened for Angela. (Seriously, she didn't have to do a thing; life came to her.) But, I can understand why people would enjoy it. I was starry-eyed about NYC before I lived here, too. However, I liked Angela. She wasn't too ridiculous of a human being (except for her obnoxious spending habits. What 26-year-old freelance writer can pay for a week-long stay at an $800/night hotel room and daily shopping sprees that total in the thousands? Yeah right.). And Kelk built the anticipation in the story making me want to know what happens next.

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