August Books

Well, I really didn’t read a lot this month but I guess that isn’t a surprise seeing as I called that back in January. I always read less in summer since I end up spend time outside grilling, clinking wine glasses with friends and soaking up the sun. It leaves a lot less time for inside activities.

Not to mention I worked out 17 times last month. And yes, I would like my gold star, please.

I finished 3 books and generally speaking all enjoyable. I’ve read 49 books of my 50 book goal this year, so at least I know next month I can do some celebrating no matter what!

Anyway, let’s talk about what I read:

Groundswell by Katie Lee
I was never really that interested in Katie Lee when she was married to Billy Joel, but when she started writing cookbooks and doing more lifestyle stuff in the media, I admit I thought she was pretty darling. Plus I’m always fascinated by people who actually live in The Hamptons year round — I mean, WHAT IS THAT LIFE LIKE??? Ina Garten: Adopt Me!

Anyway, I picked this up because I heard it was her first try at fiction and I’m always interested in the Quasi-Celeb Roman a clef. The plot line deals with a small town girl who marries big! But ultimately goes through a divorce with her Big! Hollywood! Celebrity! Husband. As such she takes herself on a post-divorce Stella-Gets-Her-Groove-Back trip to Mexico where she learns to surf…and maybe even love again. Cue sappy music.

The Pros: It definitely (and literally) is a good beachy read. Trashy Hollywood references, Yachts, Excess and Romance — important ingredients, yes?

The Cons: For a book billed as a post-divorce recovery story, a lot of real estate is given to the relationship. Like 2/3 of the book is about how she and her Hollywood Husband meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after for a while. The whole divorce, surfing and groove-getting takes place sort of hastily at the end of the book which was unexpected.

Overall it was light and fluffy and she’s an okay writer. There is not an ounce of complexity to the prose or the plot, but I think sometimes in a beach read you just want simple and satisfying, so in that sense it did its job. I’d probably pick up her next book, depending on the topic.

Book Number 2 was Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe. You guys know how I felt about that book already so we’ll just leave it at that.


Blood Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton was my third read and I have to say I had no idea who Gabrielle Hamilton was before I read this. I picked it up solely because the front cover quote was by Anthony Bourdain proclaiming it the Best! Food Memoir! EVAR! Or you know, something equally hyperbolic, and I love everything that comes out of that guy’s mouth, so I was intrigued.

Maybe you are hip and smart and you already knew all about her life and her East Village restaurant called Prune. I did not, but now that I have done some reading about it, it appears it has quite the cult following. Hamilton’s simple and soulful food is rooted in memories of her complicated upbringing and an interesting personal life that would probably even make for good fiction.

What was most compelling about this book for me, was voice and overall writing style. In her 20s, in the middle of her years in New York catering, Hamilton went off to Michigan and earned a Writing MFA — and it shows. She can turn a phrase and set a scene that in a very powerful way and I wanted to underline passages on every other page just because they instantly captured the marrow of life. Happy, sad or indifferent, this book travels through a life time of emotions and experiences. Although I savored it, it came to an end too quickly. And like the mark of a true good read, I was sad when it was over.

What did you read this month that you loved?

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3 comments to August Books

  • LizScott
    September 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    ok FINE i will add those to my to-reads. GOD.

    (what i mean to say is: thank you much for the rec, etc etc)

  • Tamara
    September 1, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was such a fun read. Highly recommend for the nerdy video game/pop culture fans out there.

  • September Books
    October 6, 2011 at 5:04 am

    […] title, but we’re all friends here right? So I started following Katie Lee on Twitter after reading Groundswell last month and she tweeted that this was one of her #fridayreads. I am a total sucker for books about secret […]

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