ParentDish Feature: What are you reading? Um... lots of things...

Filed under: Media, Day Care & Education, That's Entertainment

what are you reading?(June 15, 2007) After I finished A Widow for One Year, I was gangbusters to read another "real" novel. So, I pulled out my copies of A Prayer for Owen Meany and Prince of Tides. And I discovered that I was simply too mentally exhausted to start reading either of them, despite remarkable reviews of Owen Meany.

On a whim, at the grocery store, I noticed a new Thomas Perry book. And oh, boy, Thomas Perry books (Leian, forgive me, I forgot about these). They are probably best-described as thrillers, because you know who the guilty person is. The real challenge is how many people will die before the murderer/bad guy is stopped. I started reading Perry's Jane Whitefield novels years ago, and I so wish he was still writing them. Jane Whitefield is a woman who helps people in trouble (mostly women) disappear. The books are so thrilling, they made my feet sweat as I read them, and I would end up with damp socks all the time in winter.

So, when I noticed Nightlife, I put it into the cart. The book wasn't as strong as the Jane Whitefield novels-- it didn't make me sweaty-- but that didn't stop me from spending all day Sunday reading it. My kids were at their father's house and I decided just to take a day for me (I seem to need/take a lot of mental health days for some reason).my losing seasonThe premise of the novel is that a young woman goes on a serial killing spree across the country. She changes her identify and her look, seduces men into helping her and giving her money, and then kills them and runs again. As one reviewer on Amazon noted, she doesn't seem to know much more about changing her identity than dyeing her hair. But she is pretty delusional too, so I think she imagines herself to be doing a fine job.

The most interesting facet of the novel (okay, I like the making of fake driver's licenses and don't mind the constant hair dyeing) is the fact that the detective chasing her is also a woman.

The murderer, who changes names several times during the course of the novel, finally moves to the city where the detective lives and hides in plain site. She then starts to change her identify in slower, more calculated ways and adopts the identity OF the detective who is chasing her. It's very Single White Female. But it made for an absorbing Sunday read.

Then, I read a book that I almost forgot I had read (yes, back to crap, aren't we?): The Secret Passion of Simon Blackwell by Samantha James. It wasn't even a bad read (predictable? of course)-- I just forgot that I had read it. I started typing that I had been in between books since then, and then I suddenly recalled it. I have carried Lyndsey Sands' books The Brat to the pool and back again without ever opening it. And then, the other night at the local bookstore, I bought My Losing Season by Pat Conroy, and have been dipping into it here and there. His writing is like crack to me-- I love everything he writes. This book is autobiographical, non-fiction-- a departure for Conroy. I have been thinking that I should send it to my father as a late Father's Day present, because it is about Conroy's losing season of basketball. My father adores basketball.

For Father's Day, I got my husband The Yiddish Policeman's Union, with the clear understanding that I am going to read it first (he is leaving to attend a National Endowment of the Humanities seminar for six weeks, and won't have time to read it). But I have to give it to him on Sunday first. I have also bought two more volumes of poetry, and I am starting to wonder what is up with that. It could be that I am going to begin writing poetry again. These were on the sale rack, so for $4.99, who can resist? I got Neruda: Selected Poems, and Imperfect Thirst by Galway Kinnell. I have started reading both, and adore them-- particularly the Kinnell, whom I have always admired.

I went to bed the other night and settled in with Donald Hall's Without, which, as I mentioned last week, contains the poems he wrote during his wife's losing battle with leukemia, and then during the year after her death. Predictably, reading it resulted in big fat tears and lots of sniffling until my husband realized I was quietly weeping beside him and held me while I sobbed. My poor husband had been hoping for a different kind of intimacy and gently said, "Maybe this isn't the best bedtime reading." Stupendous poetry-- to be able to write poems of that caliber during that kind of grief just boggles my mind.

And then, yesterday, on the way to the dentist, I grabbed the first Harry Potter book, and so that seems to be what I am reading after all.

Finally, I'd like to say that at the end of July, I will be moving on from Parent Dish. I have been writing here on and off for the past two years, and it's time for me to move on. So, please let me know where you are with Lovely Bones if you are reading-- and please do leave a comment so we can keep in touch. I have very much enjoyed the conversations I have had with you about books and other things, and I would hate to lose that.

What are you reading this week?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.