Reading Round-Up: Fiction Edition

by Abby on March 18, 2013

Gone Girl, by Gillian FlynnI’m in reading mode again. I go in spurts, reading nothing but food labels for months – Extra Cheddar Goldfish have the same amount of fiber as regular, FYI – then I will feel my brain cells atrophying and reach for a book. Or, you know, if nothing’s on TV.

In a shocking twist, this time I abandoned my usual non-fiction leanings and read some novels. First up, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, about an unraveling young marriage. While this book has been on the bestseller list for like 40 weeks, sometimes a book’s enormous popularity will actually make me NOT want to read it, like Fifty Shades of Grey. Pass. But Gone Girl’s reviews captured my interest, and soon after I picked up the book, I was hooked.

I’ll tell you this: the crazy-twisty plot keeps you reading, but what drew me in was the quality of the writing. This is a great read for writers. I kept rereading passages to admire the language.

Another much buzzed-about book I read was Ann Leary’s The Good House. It’s about an alcoholic realtor in Massachusetts who befriends an intriguing newcomer to town. I enjoyed it, and not just because my in-laws have familiarized me with the Boston accent. Again, you can’t really predict the ending. That’s pretty rare, in my experience.

I enjoyed Ian McEwan’s Atonement, so I was eager to read his newest book, Sweet Tooth. It’s about a young woman in 1960s London who’s recruited to work as a spy. Personally, I found it kind of dull and complicated, but another friend of mine read it and liked it. I am glad I stuck it out till the end because that’s the best part. (BTW, I accidentally checked out the large print version from the library, so this may have had something to do with my aversion to it. I could’ve read that thing from across the room, people.)

Maybe because of St. Patrick’s Day, I felt compelled to read some Maeve Binchy books. I find the Irish writer’s novels very comforting, sort of the literary equivalent of watching “The Cosby Show.” I really liked Minding Frankie, and am almost done with the last book she wrote before she died last summer, A Week in Winter. Reading them back to back, I noticed her books ARE kind of repetitive, with the same types of characters popping up over and over. But again, comforting and enjoyable, like a nice, warm potato-leek soup. Mmm, soup…

Read anything good lately? I’m all ears.

Jennifer Garner and Ben AffleckREAD O’ THE DAY, POP CULTURE EDITION: I missed all the kerfuffle over Ben Affleck’s Oscar acceptance speech originally because it happened way past my bedtime, but apparently he thanked his wife, Jennifer Garner, “for working on their marriage,” thus setting off a media firestorm.

“Affleck Admits to ‘Working on Marriage’!! Hollywood’s Golden Couple on Brink of Divorce!!” responded the tabloids.

Marriage takes work? Duh,” responded long-married people everywhere.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate Hopper March 18, 2013 at 1:23 pm

You’ve been reading up a storm, Abby! I’ve had Gone Girl on my list, so I’m glad to hear you like it.

I’m enjoying Amy Shearn’s new novel, The Mermaid of Brooklyn. Her writing is stunning and her insights into new motherhood are spot-on!

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Abby March 18, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Thanks, Kate, I’ll put that one on my list. Sounds right up my alley!

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Jennifer March 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Loved Gone Girl. Wait, let me rephrase that. I was totally immersed in Gone Girl because it was both so well-written and compelling. I hated the ending, though. Gah!

Have you read Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder yet?

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Abby March 18, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Me either! Everyone I know who’s read it had that same reaction. Haven’t read the Patchett book, but I like her.

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Neena March 19, 2013 at 10:46 am

I read Gone Girl. The ending irritated me. Most of what I’m reading now is pretty trashy…and I love it!

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