Sunday, June 17, 2012

“Light” Reading

For quite some time now I’ve been reading serious books; business and career-related books, nonfiction books for women and memoirs or biographies.  After my latest read, Anne Kreamer's It's Always Personal: Emotion in the New Workplace (a book I can't seem to motivate myself to review on this blog) I decided to take a break from these types of books.  Its time I read a good story or just be entertained. 

I began with Holes by Louis Sachar:
This YA book was mentioned by Lisa Bloom in her book Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World. Lisa wrote:
Holes by Louis Sachar, allegedly a kids’ book, but honestly, I think that masterpiece was written just for me.
I found this book to be an excellent palate cleanser (a phrase I am borrowing from Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness).  It includes a clever story, interesting relationship dynamics and enough life lessons to keep you thinking about the book for a few days after reading.

My next book was Ruth Reichl’s book Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise:
This book has been on my reading list since I spotted it on OMagazine's list of 4 Funny Books We Love. The list also includes Bill Bryson’s book A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail - one of the funniest book I’ve ever read - any book included alongside Bryson's deserves a look.

Here is Doro Hunter, the book’s assistant editor's description of Garlic and Sapphires:
In this voyeuristic journey into the restaurant world, Reichl, the former New York Times food columnist, describes how she wore disguises so servers wouldn’t know that she was a famous critic.
I didn't think Reichl’s book was laugh out loud funny - I thought some of Reichl’s disguises and the personalities she took on were a little sad - but it was certainly an entertaining page-turner.  It was interesting to see how her appearance affected the service she received at some of NYC’s top restaurants.  Reichl’s restaurant reviews and food descriptions are some of the best food writing I’ve ever read, though I did find it surprising the number of restaurants she visited that served fois gras as an appetizer.  She also provides a lesson for those of us who have celebrity aspirations. She receives this warning from a co-worker shortly after becoming the New York Times restaurant critic:
And later when everyone’s telling you how wonderful you are, don’t forget this. Remember that no matter how well you do the job, the power is not yours.  It all, every scrap of it belongs to this institution. You’re just a byline.  Take a good look.  The minute you give up the job, you become a nobody. (Pg. 65)

My next read is going to be Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels: A Novel of the Civil War:

I know war is not exactly a subject that can be considered light reading, but as an ISFJ even my fiction has to teach me something, which is why I usually prefer historical fiction. Here is the quote from Jaclyn Day’s blog post [Childhood] books that made a difference that makes me want to read this book:

This book also ranks as one of my all-time favorites. My family is probably sick of me talking about it as I often reminisce about how much I love it. I look at this book as the first “adult” book I really read. Emerging from a cloud of young adult fiction, a teacher handed me this and everything changed. This book is not only one of the finest historical novels ever written, but maybe one of the finest books I will ever read…period.
Is there a particular author or book you turn to when you need a little “light” reading?

If you enjoyed this post you may also like:
Using humor during phone interview
Book doesn't hold interest; realize I am not a foodie
Lisa Bloom Preaches to the Choir


  1. I read Holes a long time ago, but really enjoyed it. Even at the time, it seemed more adult than young adult to me.

    I also didn't think Reichl's book was laugh out loud funny, but I thought she was a lovely writing style (which is perhaps no surprise, given her profession).

  2. Sarah Powers2:15 PM

    I'm a HUGE audiobook fan! When I travel, I listen to books all the time. Some of my absolute favorites with stellar audio include Christopher Paolini'a Eragon Series.

    For a book that offers something for everyone, try The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lax by Rebecca Skloot. This is a very memorable book!

    As far a business books go, for a really quick read I enjoyed "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lenchioni.

  3. Kim,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the books. I think you are right about Holes it is more adult than young adult.

  4. Sarah,
    I used to have a long commute to a miserable job. The only thing I looked forward to each day was listening to audiobooks. Now that I am only twenty minutes from work I don't bother with audiobooks.

    I just looked up Christopher Paolini'a Eragon Series - looks like a great series to escape into.

    I have always heard good things about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lax, then I read this post last week: and added it to my TBR list. Now that you've mentioned it I am going to read it next.

    I really do enjoy business books. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team sounds like an excellent choice. I am adding it to my TBR list.

  5. Savvy, I read "Holes" a few years ago and I loved it. The movie was quite enjoyable, too. Glad you took a break and embraced lighter reading. It's a fun thing to do now and then, isn't it?

  6. Savvy, I read "Holes" before they made the movie and I loved it. But it's been a while! When I want some light reading, I turn to Erma Bombeck. I've lost count of how many times I've read all her books but every time feels like the first time. They make me laugh like crazy. I just reread "If life is a bowl of cherries, what are we doing in the pits" and I'm packing another one for my trip! :)

  7. I enjoyed Holes too! And the movie was good too. I hadn't heard of the others but off to check them out.

    This week I pulled out a lot of my old childhood favorites and am rereading them. (And I mean really old ;)

    Visiting from SITS

  8. I just finished reading a middle grade book with my kids called Savvy by Ingrid Law for our family book club. I really liked it even though the main character was only 13.

    I'm reading a couple of other YA books for my light reading. One is the Ranger's Apprentice series and we're re-reading Princess Acadamy in anticipation of the sequel.

  9. I love Neal Shusterman. It's YA but not necessarily light reading. I've read Bruiser, Unwind, and The Schwa was Here. All great but each with a serious social issue involved.

    Try The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Definitely light, but smart. Also Ella Minnow Pea.

    Have fun.

    Stopping by from SITS. Have a great weekend.

  10. Monica,
    It sure is. Expecially for summer. Also, I now have to see the Holes movie.

  11. Bella,
    I read, "If life is a bowl of Cherries" quite a few years ago. It is time I read another Erma Bombeck book. Interesting too how her work is timeless.

  12. c @annuary Chit,
    Another vote for the movie. I may see if I can get it for next week. Another childhood book I've never read is Anne of Green Gables. Have you read?

  13. Raejean:
    Thanks for the suggestions. I am going to check them out. And I love - love the idea of a family book club. If I had kids I would so do this. Now that I think about it I might ask my 10-year old niece if she wants to start one.

  14. Miss Robin,
    All of your suggestions are going on my reading list.


    Always looking for vacation book ideas too. I don't like reading nonfiction while on vacation. It is too hard to take notes.