reading, reading, plodding along

Three things:

  • The election results are nauseating.
  • If you ordered a copy of Unseen Moon, you should have received an email by now. :) Please reply to me so I can make sure you are a person and not a figment of my imagination.
  • Books will always be there for you.

Here are some books I’ve recently finished.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read this in one sitting. I am a fan of The Office (first season was funny, second season was brilliant, third to fourth season was that kind friend you come home to after a long day, then I gave up), but not really of Mindy Kaling, as she plays Kelly, a “tertiary character” that tends “to have one or two great lines per episode. Wait, what’s the thing that comes after tertiary? That’s Kelly.” I know she now has The Mindy Project, but I haven’t seen that, so all I know about Kaling is that she plays Kelly Kapoor. I’m so glad I read this book. The text is not laugh-out-loud funny, but I find her humor and her stories and her attention to strange detail endearing. It’s a light read you should bring with you to cheer you up. Hell, it cheered me up. (“This book will take you two days to read. Did you even see the cover? It’s mostly pink.”)

Also, and I just found out about this through this book, Kaling and a friend wrote a one-act play called Matt & Ben, where she played Ben Affleck. The play got her a meeting with The Office creator, Greg Daniels. That is awesome. Where can I get a recording?

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of DepressionThe Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Andrew Solomon once again writes with infinite grace, understanding, and generosity. If you want to learn more about depression, or if you’re suffering from it, this is the book for you. Actually, I would recommend this to everyone, because even in this day and age, I still hear people talk about depression as if it were ordinary sadness that you can just walk off, or cure with a drinking session with a couple of friends. I used to say that, when I was younger, not knowing that there are people who cannot literally get out of bed in the morning due to this paralyzing ailment. Solomon writes about his own depression, and discusses suicide (his own mother committed suicide when she realized that she won’t be cured of her illness), depression among the poor (an often overlooked demographic), and the politics of institutionalization and medication.

A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love YouA Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You by Amy Bloom

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can’t quite articulate how much I loved these stories, how much I admired the level of craft on display here. Characterizations are sharp, and descriptions are precise and concise. It is amazing. Consider this excerpt:

The summer Jessie Spencer turned five, she played Capture the Flag every day with the big boys, the almost-six-year-olds who’d gone to kindergarten a year late. Jane never worried, even in passing, about Jesse’s IQ or her eye-hand coordination or her social skills. Jesse and Jane were a mutual admiration society of two smart, strong, blue-eyed women, one five and one thirty-five, both good skaters and good singers and good storytellers. Jane didn’t mention all this to the other mothers at play group, who would have said it was the same between them and their daughters when Jane could see it was not, and she didn’t mention it to her own sweet, anxious mother, who would have taken it, understandably, as a reproach. Jane didn’t even mention this closeness to the pediatrician, keeper of every mother’s secret fears and wishes, but it sang her to sleep at night. Jane’s reputation as the play group’s good listener was undeserved; the mothers talked about their knock-kneed girls and backward boys and Jane smiled and her eyes followed Jesse. She watched her and thought, That smile! Those lashes! How brave! How determined!

That single paragraph (the second paragraph in the first story) made me sit up and take notice.

View all my reviews

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