These days I'm doing a little more baby-holding and walk-taking and a little less reading, but I finally knocked out our book club picks for August and September!
My Cross to Bear by Greg Allman
I have a love-hate relationship with this memoir. I *loved* how it sounded like Gregg was just sitting there talking to me. His voice comes across so strongly it’s like he was RIGHT THERE at my kitchen counter, pouring himself a drink or shooting up drugs in his arm, or what have you.
Otherwise, I’ve got some hate.
I don’t think he knew whether he wanted to be sex drugs and rock’n’roll with this memoir or if he wanted to come across cheesy as hell, but he did a little of both. In fact, this book actually read like he was on-and-off some kind of happy medicine. He provided lots and lots and LOTS of examples of using his fame to get himself some …<female genetalia, not sure if I’m going to introduce stronger language than that in my blog – what if my kids read this some day? Or YOUR kids?> and then later he’ll talk about how much he loves women. And all of God’s creatures.
He talked about a lot of real cool cats, man. And so-and-so who was the best guitar player EVER. Or so and so who was the best drummer you’d ever want to meet. This went on through the 60’s, the 70’s, the 80’s and beyond. Lots of cool cats. Lots of sex. Lots of drugs. (LOTS OF ROCK N ROLL!)
He spoke about Cher. He thought she wasn’t a very good singer. He was glad she thought that he was good between the sheets. One of the best she’s ever had. But he couldn’t even pretend in his memoir that he thought she could carry a tune. Jerk move!
I decided I didn’t like Greg Allman. But he had an interesting life.
Wunderland by Jennifer Cody Epstein
There are SO many WW2 novels. Most of them I’ve read are really good, but I choose carefully so that they don’t blur together.
This book (and the Allman memoir) were selected by my book club. It seemed like about half of the group loved it and the other half couldn’t get through it. I admit that it took a bit to really get into it, but that’s partially because I’ve been busy and had been reading it in stop-starts for about a week. Then I had a chance to really devote some uninterrupted time to reading it and that made all the difference (without a doubt, the best way to read *most* books – with as few interruptions as possible!)
The characters were layered, the plot was interesting, and the book did a good job of showcasing how the awful treatment of the Jews evolved prior to the Holocaust without sending the reader to bed in a fog of depression. Let me explain: to me, good books about something horrific strike a balance. Nothing is sugar coated and enough details are provided to help readers understand the gravity and general horribleness of the situation but it’s not 400 pages of torture. Readers should be able to come up for air at the very least.
This is really a novel about friendship and family dynamics in an unthinkable situation. It’s meh, then it’s good and good and good and then it’s excellent (and then it’s over).
Next up: Oh my gosh I am absolutely flying through another memoir that’s currently sitting at five stars for me, no question. I also just started the sequel to a book our entire book club loved about ten years ago.
What have you been reading?
Mom of four, wife of one. By day I fund-raise with coffee, by night I read with wine and chocolate.