I’ve been too brain-tired to read lately, but before I forget, here are three more books I read before my mind went on strike a few weeks ago.
Jane Austen Ruined My Life, by Beth Pattillo.
To start, let me say that when I sat down to write this, I looked at that cover and thought: “I literally have no recollection of the contents of that book.” I had to read the description on the back which jogged my memory. Ah yes! Basically, the main girl is a Literature professor (who studies Jane Austen, obvi) who gets scandalously removed from her job due to a sketchy husband/mistress/academic dishonesty situation, and runs to London where she apparently has a cousin. And upon arriving at her cousin’s house–wait, I mean FLAT, because you know… LONDON– she finds that her ex boyfriend is staying there, too. And apparently he’s also an American literature professor who is randomly in London. Hmm.
So, she’s there because some possible nut-job contacted her saying that she has original, secret letters from Jane Austen. From there, the main girl runs around on crazy “tests” from the nut-job, all the while having coincidental run ins with the ex-boyfriend.
It reminded me a little bit of the memoir about the lady who went to all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder historic landmarks (although I cannot for the life of me remember what that book was called). There was some (possibly made up) Jane Austen history and background that I found vaguely interesting, and it had a teeny bit of DaVinci code-ness to it as well.
I’m pretty sure she ended up happily ever after with the ex-boyfriend, but I can’t say for sure as it was totally not memorable. My main question, however, is: What is up with all of these books about being obsessed with Jane Austen?
Only read this if you are SUPER into Jane Austen.
The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club, by Gil McNeil.
I definitely remember reading this, so already it is a step up from the Jane Austen one above. In this book, also set in England, girlfriend has a crappy husband who, immediately after he announces he’s leaving her, is killed in a car crash. She up and moves with her two boys to a little beach town where her grandmother lives to restart her life and take over grandma’s knitting store.
I enjoyed this book. It was kinda long, and not super eventful or dramatic, so it was nice for picking up and reading for a little bit to let my brain melt. There is no scandalous romance drama, and for once in this genre of book, I didn’t feel like the characters were total cliches. There was, admittedly, A CELEBRITY, but other than that, they were painted as realistic, every-day simple people. A lot of times, in books like this (aka– a community of ladies learn to support each other even though they’re SO DIFFERENT!) the characters are over the top and lame, but I liked the very regularness of the people in this book.
I also secretly liked that nothing really happens. I mean, some things happen, but mostly life just meanders along as things get marginally better.
Apparently, there is a sequel, so maybe more happens there, but I probably won’t read that unless I find it at the thrift store, too. Also, it will need to be called “The Beach Street Knitting and Yarn Club PART TWO” otherwise I won’t recognize anything about it.
Read this on a beach vacation or a plane when you have a long time to sit and read and are tired of reading the extra-fluffy chick-lit, but still not quite ready for actual literature.
Lost and Found, by Jacqueline Sheehan.
Of the three, this is my favorite, and not just because there is a dog on the cover.
This is another dead husband book.
Unlike the last guy, though, this husband is good. And when he drops dead one day, the psychologist main character loses her marbles (as one would) and packs it off to some tiny, resortey island (in Maine or something similar) where she talks her way into becoming the local dog catcher in the off season.
To me, this book read as if it was written to be a movie, which isn’t entirely bad. The psychologist/dog catcher finds a dog who has been shot with an arrow, and in trying to figure out what the hell happened, she ends up falling into trying to prove that a local suicide was actually a murder. DUN DUN DUUUN!! There are some engaging side characters– an eccentric older lady who has synesthesia and sees numbers and letters in colors, an anorexic teen neighbor, and an archery instructor.
The chapters switch off with an alternating subjective third-person narrator– most chapters are about the main character, but the eccentric lady, neighbor girl, and even the dog get some chapters from inside their heads. The dog chapters reminded me a lot of The Art of Running in the Rain, and as a side note, do not read that book if you’re not ready to cry all the tears.
It all caps off with a very dramatic OH NO THE BAD GUY!! part, and then everyone lives happily ever after.
This is a good one. I mean, don’t pay ten dollars for it, but check it out if you run across it at the library.