book report

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The last three books I read were Anne Murray’s “All of Me,” Lisa Scottoline’s “Meet Me At Emotional Baggage Claim” and Meg Wolitzer’s “The Interestings.” All of these books I borrowed from the Cape Breton Regional Library.

I like how Elise Blaha Cripe (who is pretty much my hugest blog inspiration) does book reports from time to time, and I want to start doing that too. Plus I’m reading anyway! I’ve been a huge reader since I was a kid, and there have only ever been short, very busy periods of time in my life when I haven’t had a book on the go. Even now that I’m in school and busy with that, I find reading so important. It’s such a good way to change things up, get away from my daily routine, and relax. If I think I don’t have time in my daily life for reading, I need to re-evaluate!

When it comes to choosing reading material, I mainly go with what appeals to me, which could be a novel, short stories, an autobiography or non-fiction. I love humorous essays, and I love “feel good” books, although I lose interest if its a cookie-cutter book and it’s too “fantasy.” (Everyone’s rich, everyone’s gorgeous, sort of thing.) I love browsing in the library shelves, taking books out, reading the jackets. Most of the time I put them right back – especially if the subject seems dull or worse, depressing. (There are so many books about horrible things! Why is that?) Stories about people facing enormous, awful hardships, or stories about war or the Holocaust don’t tend to make it onto my night table. But, I’ll take other things into account too, like the reviews, and if someone has recommended the book to me. Right now I’m reading “White Oleander,” which I wouldn’t have picked up on my own, but a good friend sang its praises, so I’m giving it a shot. (I’ll write about that book in a future post.)

So anyway. I could talk about books all day, like e-readers versus real books, and using libraries, and all that. So I’ll move on. Here are the three books I read last:

“All Of Me,” by Anne Murray with Michael Posner. I was born in 1984, and I grew up knowing only a little bit about Anne Murray. I knew she was a singer, that she was from Nova Scotia, and that she sang “Snowbird”. I didn’t know much else about her career or music.  This past year I read some autobiographies and realized I really like them, that they don’t have to be just a dull re-telling of facts about an individual’s life. This book, which is in the North Sydney library branch, and which was often propped up on a shelf, on display, looked interesting but it wasn’t until December that I decided it was time to read it. It was quite good! At first it felt like a random collection of memories, from Anne’s childhood. But as the story continued and she described her early career, and how she got started in music, and all the things that she went through and how she got to be such a household name in Canada and the United States, I was captivated. Her voice is human, down-to-earth, despite the amazing fame she’s had. Not to spoil the ending, but she basically feels that above all, family is the most important thing in life. Her story also taught me that to be a woman and have a long, creative career is tough and there will be times you doubt yourself.

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“Meet Me At Emotional Baggage Claim,” by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella. I had picked up another book of essays by murder-mystery author Lisa Scottoline on a whim, because it looked funny. (Remember, I like humorous essays.) I read it (it was “My Third Husband Will Be A Dog”) and laughed and was entertained. So when I find an author I like, I look up what other books the library has by them, and place them on hold. (You can read about how to do that in this post from last year by librarian Erin Phillips!) This one was similar to her other book, it’s a compilation of their column “Chick Wit” for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Definitely goofy but also heart-warming, and above all, a relaxing read.

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“The Interestings,” by Meg Wolitzer. This one I put on hold because the girls at A Beautiful Mess (another one of my favourite blogs) chose it as their first book-club pick. I knew nothing about it or the author, but I do love Elsie and Emma, so I immediately looked it up and put it on hold. (I’m impulsive like that.) And to be honest, the description of the story didn’t grab me, it wasn’t one I would have seen in a library browsing session and thought, “Yup! Gotta read it!” It’s about a group of teenagers who meet in an arts camp in the 1970s, and follows them throughout their lives into the present day. But it’s good to be pushed out of my comfort zone, from time to time. So I read it. And loved it. It was beautifully written, but also so interesting as a mirror held up to the last forty years of our culture. Looking at all that’s happened to us, to the world as we know it, and how it has had an impact on ordinary lives. Fame, envy, love, marriage – these were the strongest themes, for me.

So what do you like to read? Any recommendations for what I ought to read next?

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