(All books mentioned in this post are linked to a page where you can purchase the book and read independent reviews of them as well. Just hit “BACK” if you want to go back to this post.)
I haven’t read this much in a long while. I have finished a record 3 books in 3 weeks, and I’m trying to keep the momentum. I have finally closed Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, The Confession by James E. McGreevey (read my post on his booksigning which I attended by clicking here), and The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. I am slowly reading Bill Clinton’s My Life , but I am able to read it only when I am home because I’d hate to lug around the tome and get it all bruised up.
McGreevey’s book is interesting enough beyond his brutal depiction of New Jersey politics, and I closed it hearing his sigh of relief at the end of the book. No, he does not tell us how he met his partner, Mark O’Donnell, to whom he lovingly dedicates the book. But he takes us through the final days of his governorship and his struggle to survive it immediately after. It sounds like he’s gearing for another political run — politics, after all, is a virus so difficult to shake — but whatever he decides later on, you have to hand it to him for having the courage to bare his once hidden true self in furtherance of his healing.
I read The Mermaid Chair because I liked Sue Monk Kidd’s earlier work, The Secret Life of Bees. A long distance friend, Lynda, had sent me her book to share it with me, and I found Kidd’s writing style very emotional and although it is not a mystery novel, it keeps you second guessing the truth behind the secret that one of the characters was trying to discover. In the Mermaid Chair, I see a more sensual style and Kidd continues to hold you in suspense about how the story will turn out, and what the secret is all about. I liked The Secret Life of Bees more, but if you liked that novel, you will almost certainly enjoy The Mermaid Chair. One of my male colleagues described it as “Chick Lit” (or Chick Literature) — and I guess I would classify it as that. It doesn’t make it any less an enjoying read, for the female or male reader at that, but it does fall into that category.
Three books.. and I’m hungry for more. I am definitely torn between two events taking place in Manhattan this coming weeks.. this Monday (October 19), Illinois Senator Barak Obama will have a book signing at Barnes and Noble on Union Square at 12NN as he launches his new book The Audacity of Hope. I would love to go but getting to Union Square alone would take an hour, I would probably have to fall in line another hour, and then it would take me an hour to go back to work. No, I have no more vacation days to give up because I’m planning that Paris trip this Thanksgiving weekend into the following week. So I am deeply disappointed, but I must pass it up.
One major event I wouldn’t mind giving up a half day for, though, is Mitch Albom’s book signing at 12NN on the 23rd at Barnes and Noble on Fifth Avenue as he launches his new book For One More Day, in follow up to Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven – two of my personal favorites to read and give away as gifts to friends. I already have two copies of the new book and will have to get at least two more because I gave the first two to no less than two friends and my sister, and I think it would be such a great Christmas present to actually give them a signed copy of the third. The books are not connected but are all written in the same vein. I like Albom because he reminds me of the writings of Richard Bach (of Jonathan Livingston Seagull fame but whose Illusions: Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah is my all time favorite).
I would have loved to shake hands with Barak Obama, but I think meeting Mitch Albom would be more meaningful. I’m still trying to figure out, of course, how I can pull that off — but hopefully, I’ll find the chance to. If I don’t catch either of the two events, I have those books on my reading list now, and I actually have my Albom book handy already. In the meantime, I think I better open my Learning French in 24 hours to try and catch a few phrases before I hope on that plane taking me to Paris end November.