summer reading #3

Haven’t updated for awhile, and I am moving very slowly in some books, but I also read very quickly some others. What else is there to do but read when you are stuck in bed with the flu? Now, of course, I am better and off on adventures, but here are the latest books I’ve finished.

I have not read books that I expected to read, due again to the fact that I did not expect to be sick with so much free time. So I’ve been a bit disappointed in things. But such is life.

1. Cocktails for Three by Madeleine Wickham. So disappointing! This woman, who also writes as Sophie Kinsella, has always impressed me, because while she writes chick lit, which basically means dumb, she writes it in a way that makes you want to read it, because both she and her characters have clearly read other books before. This one, however, was utter crap and made me really, really angry. Pregnant women being alcoholics, women being stupid, and just stupid, stupid, stupid. Don’t read it. That is all.

2. Social Justice: A Jewish Perspective by Bernardo Kliksberg. This was lent to me by a friend at Hillel after I was told to stay in bed for three days, and it’s a very good and pretty easy read. Since this is a vaguely religious trip that I’m on (or was on, since now I’m just vacationing and traveling), it was nice to kind of get in touch with my Judaism a bit and remember that there are ways I identify with my religion, even if for me it’s not about being completely stuck in the past or really Orthodox or keeping kosher. Even if you’re not Jewish, this book has a good outline of what social justice is and why it’s important that it exist. It didn’t exactly tell me things I didn’t believe in before, but it was nice to have them outlined well.

3. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I didn’t want to read this book, but my friend lent it to me and I figured I’d at least look at it, and then I finished it in a day. Whoops. I guess part of my reasoning for not wanting to read it was my resentment for Americans who do “spiritual” things to be trendy, and also because I generally feel kind of icky when talking about it. For me, religion is very personal, and while I’m glad I have my beliefs, I don’t particularly care if anyone knows them or not and I don’t really enjoy evangelicals who are constantly trying to tell me what they believe and why I should believe it, too. Maybe that’s mean of me, but it makes me feel uncomfortable. But this book, even when it got borderline sappy, was a great read simply because Gilbert was a really great storyteller. I haven’t felt like writing lately, and in the middle of the book I just had to run upstairs and journal. And it reminded me how much I enjoy traveling, even when I don’t, and how much I like to write personal essays. So I would recommend the book above all. Plus, who wouldn’t want to read about living in Italy?

So that makes 10 books thus far through the summer, and I’m well into the middle of two/three others (a García Márquez book that I’m reading simultaneously in Spanish and in translation and a book of poems). We’ll see if I make it to my goal of thirty, though. And hopefully the rest of the books I read will be better.

Stuff about my latest adventures later.

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