Saturday, June 14, 2014

Notes on Some Books

It feels like it's been a while since I've posted. The reason? I've got a new job!

A year ago I ended my ten year tenure with Barnes and Noble* and started working at a high end grocery store. Six months ago I transferred to a different store for a promotion. And just a few weeks ago accepted a new position in a new department at this same location.


It's been hectic and busy and tiring and great!

I've still been reading, and here are some notes on some books...

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
I wanted to read this when it first came out, it just looked fun. I finally took it out of the library and read it. It IS fun. Buster and Annie are brother and sister in The Fang Family, parented by Caleb and Camille, who engage in performance art with their children. They basically create planned public spectacles and watch the fallout from the reactions of the unwitting public. From infancy, Annie and Buster (A and B) are involved in their parents' "art". The book switches back and forth from Annie and Buster as adults (with some serious family fallout of their own to deal with) to some of the Fang's pieces from their childhood. Slated to be a movie, this was a fun read.

Casebook by Mona Simpson
Miles, a 12 year old boy, and his best friend, Hector, spy on their parents. They try to uncover what's going on in the parents' relationships as parents split up and move on. Simpson captures the feeling of being a kid with huge family stuff going on, how there is not knowing how it's going to turn out, wondering what ending relationships mean and at the same time just being a kid. Good read.

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
This book has been getting a lot of buzz, and for good reason. Oyeyemi captures mood and character brilliantly. Told from the point of view of three girls/women, this is lovely.

To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others by Daniel Pink
I read this as I was preparing for my interview for this new position, and got some great insight into how we operate, not just in retail, but also in life and relationships. His premise is that by connecting with other people, being empathic, we are more likely to sell (which isn't just selling stuff for money, but helping persuade people, or even just sharing an idea). Pink says that selling is so much more than the stereotypical being pushed (hard) into buying something you may or may not want. Easy to read and enlightening.

Prescription for Nutritional Healing: A Practical A-To-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements
This is a great resource for my new job (vitamin/supplement buyer), and I am learning a LOT! The book is huge, and I find I'm using it as a reference book rather than reading it straight through. SO glad to have it.

Bark: Stories by Lorrie Moore
It's hard to create a world in a short number of pages, and Moore does this brilliantly here, as in her previous collections of stories. She's a writer worth reading.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
There are some excellent teen books that I wish weren't categorized as teen books because then I think more adults would read them. This is one of them. It alternates points of view between Eleanor and Park, two high school kids. Their relationship develops through books and music, and progresses through some pretty serious challenges. Eleanor and Park feel like real people.

Ruby by Cynthia Bond
Ruby shows up in a small, Southern town after being gone for many years. She seems damaged, and many of the townspeople don't know how to react to her strangeness. Ephram awkwardly tries to gain her trust, as her return reminds himself that he has loved her for years. Not always an easy book to read (I thought of some of Toni Morrison's writing as I read this), it is harsh and lovely.

Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch
Koch is the author of THE DINNER, a deliciously dark look into the lives of two couples and their children. I'm halfway through SHWSP, and it has a similar feel. Marc Schlosser is a family practitioner whose famous movie star patient has just died. Was Marc culpable? Like THE DINNER, this is narrated by the main character, brilliantly revealing layers, each one darker than the one before.



What are you reading?

*This link will tell you more about my decision to leave the bookstore -

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