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So sue me

October 2, 2011

I can’t do anything, because I accidentally started this book:

The Family Fang: A Novel

Nothing’s getting accomplished till I finish, either.  Please go read it if you haven’t already and come back and tell me what you thought.  And while we’re at it, what were the best books you read this summer?  I’ve desperately missed this feeling–the middle-of-a-brilliant-book feeling.  I’m sad the end is closer every time I turn a page, though of course I can’t stop.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Anne permalink
    October 2, 2011 11:14 pm

    I really liked “Driving Over Lemons,” which I’ve just finished. It’s a memoir about a British couple who buy a remote farm in rural Spain. Like your blog, a lot of what he writes about is the daily grind, but he has a really engaging writing style, also like you, that totally hooked me. Plus, I find it fascinating to read about other cultures.

  2. October 3, 2011 9:12 am

    I was just about to post something along the exact same lines on my blog today – Books I Read This Summer. You beat me to it! I managed four – which isn’t too bad, I reckon, considering I have about 3 minutes’ peace a day. I’m a bit ashamed to have to count a Jilly Cooper in there (but at about 15,000 pages long, and at least 7 plots woven through, surely it should count for more?) which, with all due respect to Jilly, I won’t be recommending to anyone (or at least, not to anyone i particularly like). I struck gold with the others tho. “This THing of Darkness” by Harry Thompson, which was just WONDERFUL and is now on my list of all time favourites (about the voyages of the Beagle, and the relationship between Darwin and the ship’s Captain. Sounds, dull, is in fact magnificent. and all true, which makes it all the more astonishing. I came away thinking – what a dull dull life I lead). about 750 pages too, so bang for your buck. And now I’ve just read both of Lisa Genova’s novels, back to back – “Still Alice” (about a 50 yr old woman with early onset Alzheimer’s), and “Left Neglected” (about a woman with a v interesting (tho’ possibly not to her) brain injury. Both also fabulous. All three are going on Christmas Lists for my family. Having finished Still Alice at 1am this morning, I’m now goign to take your recommendation and get self The Family Fang. I’ll report back in several weeks…

  3. Liz permalink
    October 3, 2011 9:35 am

    I LOVED that book and likewise loved Wilson’s book of short stories, TUNNELING TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH. Smart, pithy, and so imaginative.

  4. irretrievablybroken permalink*
    October 3, 2011 11:36 am

    I just ordered Tunneling To the Center of the Earth. This Thing of Darkness sounds AMAZING, thank you, thank you, and so do the Genova books. I can’t get over Family Fang. Finished it last night and can think of nothing else.

  5. mephistofaust permalink
    October 3, 2011 2:11 pm

    Gold Boy, Emerald Girl by Yiyun Li. Wonderful collection of short stories. I’ll definitely look into The Family Fang!

  6. Frances Dowell permalink
    October 4, 2011 9:17 am

    I recently finished Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. One of the best things I’ve read in awhile.

  7. October 4, 2011 1:01 pm

    I’ll see you in court, so!

    *Notes down book titles before storming off to ring solicitor*

  8. Cathy permalink
    October 4, 2011 3:37 pm

    I’m seven or eight years late to it, but I just finished Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, and it’s the first book in a while that’s made me frantically buttonhole everyone I run into and as if they’ve read it. What an exhilarating read.

  9. irretrievablybroken permalink*
    October 4, 2011 5:28 pm

    Cathy–I haven’t read Cloud Atlas yet, so you’re ahead of me. Putting it on my list, along with Brooklyn and Gold Boy, Emerald Girl.

  10. Libby permalink
    October 4, 2011 5:29 pm

    I read so many lovely books this summer – I could gush about each one in turn but I will just put a list here instead:

    Then We Came to the End – Joshua Ferris
    A Visit from the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan
    So Much Pretty – Cara Hoffman
    Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand
    The Man who Broke Into Auschwitz – Denis Avey

  11. Libby permalink
    October 4, 2011 5:38 pm

    Sorry, have to add one more. Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder. Truly a remarkable story.

  12. irretrievablybroken permalink*
    October 4, 2011 7:51 pm

    Oooh, I forgot about Tracy Kidder. I think my ex-husband got custody of his books in the divorce. I’ve read the Ferris and the Egan (liked them both very much but this book is my least favorite of Egan’s, does anyone else agree?) but not the others…adding them to the list now…

    • October 12, 2011 7:42 am

      I’m kind of relieved to hear someone else wasn’t over the moon about the Egan book. I read it this summer and liked it, and thought parts of it were excellent, but I other parts including the end didn’t sit well with me. Everyone else I’ve said that to has been aghast.

      • youngest wren of nine permalink
        October 12, 2011 11:31 am

        Well, *I* am aghast — “Goon Squad” was my second favorite book this summer. (The top spot goes to David Mitchell’s “Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet” which I thought was just awesome, and, btw, I enjoyed way more than “Cloud Atlas”.) I did think that Goon Squad’s final chapter was the weakest, but I loved most of the others. After IrBr wrote about Goon Squad being her “least favorite of Egan’s”, I dug out “Look At Me” from the I-am-never-going-to-read-this-so-let’s-donate-it-already pile, but so far I am not feeling the love. Tell me more?

  13. Lindsey permalink
    October 5, 2011 10:47 am

    In no particular order, but all fab:

    Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
    A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
    Kids by Patti Smith
    Girl Reading by Katie Ward
    Some Hope by Edward St Aubyn
    Sum by David Eagleman
    Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis

  14. Hawk permalink
    October 5, 2011 12:16 pm

    I got through a lot of books this summer, but of course – not as many as I would have liked. Here are my summer highlights:

    Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
    Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman
    A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
    You Know When the Men are Gone by Siobhan Fallon
    So Much for That by Lionel Shriver
    The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
    Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler
    The Ha-Ha by Dave King
    Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
    Still Alice by Lisa Genova

  15. Apple permalink
    October 5, 2011 12:37 pm

    The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. He also has a second book out The Wise Man’s Fear, second of the anticipated triology. Loved them both.
    Not quite a summer time read but I also just finished The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. Yes, I know it was written for young adults. But the books were very, very good, a worthy read for any age.

  16. October 9, 2011 12:46 am

    Have you read any Barry Eisler books? I’m about to start my first one. I love a good spy counterspy book and he worked for the CIA for some time … Do let me know your opinion if you have already read his books. Rain Fall is the first one. Happy reading!

  17. October 21, 2011 10:35 pm

    so at least 4 of your commenters have read this jennifer egan book, i’m very intrigued. noticed someone else had “so much for that” on their list, i read it last year and liked it very much. just finished the new jonathan franzen, “freedom,” couldn’t put it down. he’s a twit, i’ll just go ahead and say it, but i love his writing. also this summer:

    “the leftovers”, tom perotta–great premise, but i was disappointed by what he did with it
    “major pettigrew’s last stand”–LOVED it: sweet, beautiful love story, no stress or pathos, just two characters you adore and want to see happy together
    “a gate at the stairs”, lorrie moore (also read “birds of america”)–good, but i think i like her short stories better; her voice is very unique and a little goes a long way
    “sum”, david eagleman–did nothing for me.

    i haven’t read “the family fang,” mostly because (as an unpublished novelist) i have an irrational prejudice against writers who come out of nowhere and are suddenly on everyone’s list. that’s my own issue. i’ll check it out.

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      October 23, 2011 11:08 pm

      I love Lorrie Moore’s stories and completely agree w/ you re her novels…Tom Perrotta consistently disappoints me, he’s that rare beast–a writer whose books are stale and yet the movies MADE from his books are great (I’m thinking of Election in particular). Consoling-windows friend keeps harping on Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand but she lent her copy to someone else, the traitress. I really did like Jennifer Egan’s other books more, but I think I must be in the minority. The new one was a mite gimmicky…anyone else agree?

      I have it on good authority that Kevin Wilson (Family Fang author) is wonderful and humble and sweet, and his first book of stories is great too. So don’t hold it against him! Be happy there’s another great book in the world. There’s still lots of room for your novels, worry not.

      I met Franzen once. He was on good behavior but you could sense the asshole just below the surface, struggling to get out.

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