A List of Things That Didn’t Kill Me by Jason Schmidt is a memoir by a debut author that left me breathless. Jason writes in a simple straight forward manner – as if he is speaking directly to the reader. He is brutally honest about himself, his family, and the people he met and was influenced by before his eighteenth birthday. Growing up on the West Coast during the 80’s, raised (or at least controlled by) his father and his father’s “friends” his life is chaotic and sad. But this isn’t a sad book. It is instead an honest look at an alternative lifestyle. Only one thing detracted from my enjoyment; I read this in the Kindle version and the images of Jason’s list are not large enough to view. Learn more about Jason Schmidt on GoodReads.
A spent a wonderful week with a friend in Santa Barbara, CA but I read nothing but weird and unusual books. Take a look.
Normal by Graeme Cameron – Who’s to say what is normal? Certainly a serial killers’ normal is not the same as mine – and I hope not – the same as yours. But none the less his/her life is normal and a bit humdrum to him/her until they fall in love with someone whom they do not want to kill. This a totally different read and I loved it. I had to read the ending twice to be sure I “got it”. *****
Fun House by Alison Bechdel – my first graphic novel. This is an interesting medium that I’m not certain I enjoy but Bechdel’s memoir is an appropriate story to present to the reader in this format. The poignant coming out detailed literary allusion etc. *****
Why I Don’t Write Children’s Literature by Gary Soto – picked this up off the newest books table at the Coronado library based simply on it’s title. Every so often I like to read a book of essays and this was, like most, a good sampling of Soto’s work. Some were good, some were okay and a couple were great. If you like this type of book give it a try. ****
The Wonder Garden by Lauren Acampora – Excellent book of dark short stories. Even those of you who say you don’t like short stores might like these. They are all linked together and the book reads almost like a disturbing novel. *****
Trans-sister Radio by Chris Bohjalian – The story of a trans-gendered M2F (male to female) and the woman who loves him before the transition. Also the story of a great mother-daughter relationship and the story of a divorce. The book is written around an NPR (Nation Public Radio) broadcast featuring the story of the relationship and the towns’ reaction to the relationship – a clever idea that actually works. I learned a lot about the struggles of transsexual persons and although, I admit, sometimes the graphic sexual details made me uncomfortable it was a very engaging read. *****
It’s been a quiet week here “reading-wise”. I did do a bunch of writing on Book 3 FAMILY MYTHS which made me feel productive. I’ve listed my most recent reads below and now I ‘m off to the library for a fresh supply of books! (Which, of course, makes me happy since I love the library!)
The Life I Left Behind – Colette McBride – I started out loving this book but because the ending dragged I’m only giving it 3 stars. If you like a psychological thriller with a ghost, you’ll enjoy this and you may even give it more stars – it was 3AM when I was reading the ending and maybe I should have just gone to sleep and finished in the morning. ***
You Could Be Home By Now – Tracy Manasteer – All about life in a Retirement Community in AZ. Good variety of characters (young, old and in between), some you’ll like some you won’t, touches on grief, memory, etc. A decent read. **
A Reunion of Ghosts – Judith Claire Mitchell – A family legacy of suicide shouldn’t be funny but it is. The sister’s in each generation are clever and wickedly fun. It dragged a bit but it’s worth a read just because it’s a dysfunctional family with a twist. **
Blue Stars – Emily Gray Tedrowe – A story of ordinary people whose sons and husbands and daughters and wives are deployed in Iraq. What that means to each family and how the politics of the nation and each family affect them all. It is also a very clear look at what it must be like to have your loved one seriously wounded and how different each family member’s reaction may be. Non-judgmental and presents a variety of views about the war. A little soap opera (remember ARMY WIVES) but a good read. ***
Joshilyn Jackson writes fun books and this is another winner for her and for readers. It’s a quick read that makes you laugh and feel good, which is something that I like at the end of the day. I fell in love with the characters on the very first page and I was never disappointed.
The young single mom, Shandi, has the most charming, genius, 3 year old son (Natty Bumppo) you will ever hope to meet. The two of them are perfect together. Add the other, all very interesting characters; Shandi’s warring, long-divorced parents, a brilliant but dysfunctional geneticist, and a very tolerant male best friend and you have a good read!
It’s a sexual story told without any actual sex scenes. This book is about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness; about falling in love, and learning that things aren’t always what they seem—or what we hope they will be. What more do you want in a novel?
And…..if you need/want another suggestion, I also loved Jackson’s GODS IN ALABAMA