Book Review Catch-up, Take 2

Jonathan Tropper – This is Where I Leave You – This was a book club book. The whole group really enjoyed it. A dysfunctional family must all deal with each other while they sit shiva for their father. The story was simultaneously hilarious and sad. Tropper really gets the nuances of family relationships. Highly recommended.

Joss Whedon – Astonishing X-Men, Volumes 1-4 – This is the first time I’ve actually read an X-Men comic, even though I’ve been a longtime fan of the cartoons and movies. Whedon was the perfect person to write for this series, and I thoroughly enjoyed these four volumes. The illustrations are nice and not so hyper sexualized that I felt myself rolling my eyes all the time. (Earth to comic artists, women read comics too.) Whedon’s signature wit and sarcasm fit these characters well, especially Wolverine. Unfortunately, Whedon only penned these four so the series reportedly goes downhill from here.

Bill Willingham – Jack of Fables, Volume 1 – This is the first in the spinoff series to Fables, with Jack (of beanstalk fame) as the main character. I enjoyed it, but not quite as much as the main series. It is still fun and worth a read if you like Fables.

Ernest Hemingway – For Whom the Bell Tolls – I was happy when one of my book club friends selected this title. I’ve always been a big fan of Hemingway and never read this, supposedly his seminal work.  I appreciated the novel for what it was supposed to be and the interesting way he wrote the dialog (basically transliterated from Spanish), but it didn’t grab me the way A Farewell to Arms and The Sun Also Rises did.

Paula McLain – The Paris Wife – It was a complete coincidence that this book came in on hold for me at the library right after I read a Hemingway novel. The Paris Wife is about Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson, and the time they spent together in Paris before he cheated on her with a mutual friend. I loved the setting and the descriptions of all the literary and artistic greats who were in Paris at the time. Of course I knew that Hemingway was a chauvinist going into the story so I expected that, but I was frustrated with Hadley’s reaction to him. I don’t know how close that was to the truth since this was fictionalized, but the fact that she let him go on for so long married to her and having his mistress in the same house really made me want to strangle her! Still, this was a very quick and fun read set in a time period and location that I love to read about. Unrelated side note: I love the name Hadley, but couldn’t convince Dan of the greatness of the name for our baby.

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