Saturday, July 28, 2007

I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle

I would not have ever discovered this book had it not been reviewed in a New York Times Book Review titled "Beauty and the Geek" - and that would have been the loss of the summer. Maybe because I have lived with teenage boys, or maybe because I have taught high school for 25 years, I laughed the whole way through the book. Larry Doyle has written for The Simpsons and Beavis and Butthead. His protagonist, Dennis Cooverman, is a Valedictorian geek who pronounces his love for the beautiful Beth Cooper in his commencement address. This leads to one night of comically exaggerated misadventures that are chronicled in the artistic renderings of Dennis Cooverman's face that precede each chapter. See for yourself at the hysterical website for the book - Every summer should include a book this crazy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Boomsday by Christopher Buckley

My interest in this novel began when I heard Christopher Buckley interviewed on NPR. The premise for this novel is a "modest proposal" to end the strain placed on the economy by the aging baby-boomers. I laughed out loud, especially at the presidential campain outlined at the end of the novel. This should be required reading for young people today - those he calls GenW - Generation "Whatever".

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Maytrees by Annie Dillard

Let me just say, I Love Annie Dillard. This book is pure poetry, and I read it slowly and savored every word. It is the love story of a couple named Maytree who live in Provincetown, among the artists and the sea salt. It is a hymn to life long love and may be best appreciated by mature readers. Thank you, Annie, for finally writing another novel. Here is Annie Dillard's website.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Peony in Love by Lisa See

I loved Lisa See's novel Snow Flower and the Secret Fan so much that I was anxiously awaiting this new novel. Although I enjoyed the book, it was hard for me to suspend my disbelief enough to accept a protagonist who is a ghost for two-thirds of the novel. I liked the way that the book is based on the story line of an actual opera, The Peony Pavilion, and I enjoyed the love story, but I felt like I was watching that old movie Ghost. Lisa See has a great website with the historical background for this very well researched novel -

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Seven Loves by Valerie Trueblood

This novel is the story of one woman, May, at seven different points in her life. It is an interesting premise, and since May is an English teacher, I enjoyed reading this slim novel.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani

If you enjoyed The Kite Runner or Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, you will love this novel set in seventeenth century Iran. The heroine, who is purposely unnamed, is a carpet maker who suffers many misfortunes on her way to finding her own place in the world. I was really impressed by the author's comments in the back of the book and the extensive bibliography that is included. The book has a very interesting website that I also enjoyed reading. My favorite part of the novel, though, is the italicized fables that are part of the storytelling tradition of the novel.