Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chick Lit, Hemingway and Biographies, Oh My!

When I was a kid, getting a new book was a big deal in my world, and really, not much has changed since then.

In fact, my perfect day always involves a trip to the bookstore. Rain or shine, summer or winter, I absolutely love perusing the shelves of the local Barnes & Noble, Borders or Indie shop and finding something new to read—even if I don't end up buying it right away.

While I'd like to think my taste in books is more sophisticated and refined now that I'm all grown up, my choice of reading material, not to mention my list of favorites, is still all over the map. And that's exactly how I like it.

But instead of anything by Judy Blume, Robin Jones Gunn's "The Christy Miller series" and Dave Drevecky's sports memoir Comeback, my favorite, go-to books of my younger years, I've adopted a few new must-reads. So with no further adieu, here are five of them (in no particular order)...

Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella—Yes, like many gals, I adore chick lit. Or most of it, anyway. And yes, I'm fully aware it's not exactly rocket science or all deep and mysterious. But sometimes a girl needs a good laugh—and this book delivers them in spades as Emma Corrigan navigates those tricky waters between what's truth and, well, what's fantasy. If you haven't read anything by Kinsella, you'll adore her easy-breezy, witty style.

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway—I have my hubby to thank for this particular introduction. Before reading A Moveable Feast, I wasn't necessarily a fan of Hemingway's often-depressing prose. Given all that he'd been through in his life, I really shouldn't have expected more, but it still wasn't easy plowing through The Sun Also Rises or The Old Man and the Sea. But A Moveable Feast? Well, that's a different matter entirely. From start to finish, the book is an absolute joy to read. Set in Paris (and trust me, Hemingway does such a great job of capturing all the sights, smells and stellar people watching), it's a moving (no pun intended) memoir of his time there with his first wife, his famous literary friends (F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, etc.) and his pen.

U2: At the End of the World by Bill Flanagan—I love U2's music and a really good biography, so this book was definitely a highly anticipated read for me. And thanks to great storytelling, it didn't disappoint in the least. While some biographers fall in love with their subjects to the point where they can't write objectively about them, Flanagan never surrenders to this temptation. Instead, he writes about Bono and Co. in a warts-and-all way that makes you feel like you're really getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse, not the puff piece the band's publicist really wanted.

The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs—Answering the question of "What if someone decided to follow the commands and customs of The Bible to the letter?" A.J. Jacobs' book has some intriguing insights about faith, even though he doesn't consider himself a Christian. Plus, it's laugh-out-loud funny from the first page. When my hubby was wrapping up his Master's degree and studying his theology in the other room, I remember routinely bursting out in giggles on several occasions (especially when Jacobs tried stoning someone in Central Park) and having to interrupt him, just so I could read him the funny parts. Needless to say, Will didn't get much work done, but I sure had fun reading.

On Writing Well by William Zinsser—Such fabulous insights on writing in an unpretentious package. I've read this on several occasions (especially in those moments when I really needed inspiration).


  1. Oh, I love Sophie Kinsella! She's one of my favorite authors...her writing style is GREAT!

  2. 'Can You Keep a Secret', one of my all time favs! I adore Kinsella : )

    If you like Sophie Kinsella, I think you would really love a book I wrote called 'Knickles and Dimes'. It's a really fun chicklit, with hilarious characters and a great story with a twist. Check it out!

    Thanks for the review!