October brings one great pumpkin of a book

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
by Dave Eggers
In the ‘Rules and Suggestions for Enjoyment’ of said book, Eggers says that the reader may not want to go beyond page 123. I wish I had listened.

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
I heard about this book several years ago but never picked it up. Short story -- Gladwell concludes that those who quickly filter out extraneous information generally make better decisions than those who discount their first impressions. Gladwell, is a former science and business reporter who now writes for the New Yorker. He brings scientific research backed up with case studies and psychological experiments to support the old saying ‘go with your gut’ or ‘first impressions are usually the best.’

Bliss, Remembered by Frank Deford
Trixie is dying and she’s called her son Teddy to spend some time and listen to a story. As Mother and son throw caution to the wind eating all the wrong foods and drinking a bit too much, it becomes clear the story of Trixie’s life is a dinger. From quiet Chestertown to the 1936 Berlin Olympics; Horst Gerhardt her German lover, to dear Jimmy Branch, her husband -- what a honey of a book, as Trixie would say. Perhaps the best book I’ve read this year.♥♥♥♥

The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
Never was a book more highly anticipated than this one, authored by the same genius who wrote The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint, AKA one of my favorite books of all time. Udall lives in Boise and teaches in a building close to the famous blue turf. You know how much I love to support Idaho authors and as much as it kills me to say this, I did not like the book in fact could not even finish the book and sincerely wish it wasn’t so.

The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman
I could not get in to this book and wager that you won't be able to either.

September -- Time To Read

Ape House by Sara Gruen
Finally! Gruen’s much anticipated new book. The ape house consists of bonobos, Sam, Bonzi, Lola, Mbongo, Jelani and Makena, who are living at a university's Great Ape Language Lab. Isabel is their caretaker/teacher and communicates with them via American Sign Language and pictures. After a mysterious fire at the facility, the apes are moved to an undisclosed location and Isabel is frantic to find them. In a bizarre twist of fate they surface as characters on a reality show and the entire country is spellbound watching the ape’s shenanigans which include lots of sexual interactions. Quite the social commentary I’d say. Not a crazy-good book like Water for Elephants, but I guess that was asking a heck of a lot. ♥♥♥

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen
Ruby is popular, arty and has a boyfriend. Her brothers are twins: Max, who's trying to find himself and Alex the athletic super-star. There are the usual teenage events -- summer camp, proms, dates, soccer games and weird neighbors. Of course there’s more to the book but I won’t say. Quindlen tells a good story. Was it a totally fresh take on coming of age in our society? No. Was it well-written and hard to put down? Yes. Did it remind me of Chris Bohjalian and Jodi Picoult? Yes. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris
These two started a revolution calling for young people to rebel against the low expectations of our culture by choosing to "do hard things." This book, written for teens, gives real-life examples of what is possible when you raise your expectations. I love the idea that adolescence is the time to start on your path of life, not just used as a vacation from responsibility. Personally the book was a bit heavy on the gospel but the message was great.

Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore
Ahhh…the 70’s. I can relate to Catherine Grace Cline as she eats Dilly Bars and dreams of leaving her dusty little town and her Baptist minister father. Nice little book with an interesting twist. Great teen book.