One thing that being sick is good for is reading. Well, sort of. Being sick is good for nothing, but if you’re sitting around anyway, you might as well have your puffy face in a book.

14. Speed Queen– Stewart O’Nan
I like O’Nan. He’s sometimes a little on the gimmicky side, but at least he knows that gimmicks only work for so long. He writes a lot of really tight little novellas/novellettes. My favorite so far has been Last Night at the Lobster, which is about a manager running a restaurant (or trying to) on its last day before it closes forever. It’s a RED Lobster that’s closing, and it’s a great little book. This one is a gimmick, too, but also a good one. The main character, Marjorie, is up against a deadline, too. She’s on death row and tonight’s the night. The character’s pretty good, but for some reason I never really got around to rooting for her. Not sure why. I can be talked into rooting for bad guys.

Maybe I was just sick.

15. The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag– Alan Bradley
Why, you’re probably wondering, is Lori reading the second book in a series that she complained about when she read the first book in the series?

I’m a complicated person?

It’s true. I had some complaints about the first book in this series, The Sweetness at the Bottom of a Pie. First of all: Retired man writing pre-adolescent female character. Yuck? Second: The little girl reads more like, well, an old man, actually. She’s much too precocious to be believed, and that remains true in this second book. But they are both sort of fun anyway. Since I started reading the Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency series, I’ve realized I have a fondness for lighthearted reading. Not light, but lighthearted. It still has to be well-written on the sentence level.

(Oh, god, have you ever read a book you couldn’t stand at the sentence level? Like the cruise ship book I read a while back, which I finished only through sheer will? Or the book I took on the cruise ship that I almost threw overboard? — took pity on the fish — Or the inexplicably award-winning drudgery I tried to read last year that I finally had to let go? I can forgive an unbelievably precocious narrator as long as I don’t cringe at the phrasing or have to keep wondering, “Is something ever going to happen?”)

Anyway, this series is cute. I have no idea why that dude is writing it. Maybe he’s a ten-year-old girl trapped in a retired guy’s body. I’ll read the next one in the series, too.

By Published On: April 6, 2010Categories: Reading