books i read last month

didn't realize that i read all these books until i looked for the pictures to create this post. i have a (bad?) habit of reading books back to back...with literally minutes between ending one and starting another. sadly, sometimes the stories run together and become a larger jumbled narrative!

1. the empress of weehawken by irene dische
this was a great book with a wonderful narrative "voice" in the form of devout catholic elisabeth, who travels from her beloved germany to NJ with her Jewish husband and daughter in order escape nazi persecution. the story dwells on the relationship between elisabeth (now an old woman), her daughter renate and her granddaughter irene. although elisabeth is sometimes quite misguided when it comes to her family, i caught myself both laughing and crying along with these fierce woman.

2. note to self by andrea buchanan
i am a little self-helped out...but this was a good book to pick up when i only had a few minutes to read since it was 30 short sections.

3. caleb's crossing by geraldine brooks
YES YES YES...such a good book. i am a sucker for historical fiction and this novel (loosely based on the story of a young man from martha's vineyard who became the first native american to graduate from harvard in 1665) was deeply engrossing. it turned up on a bunch of "best of 2011" lists and i could not agree more. i especially enjoyed the description of the nature and way of life on the island at that time period as told through the eyes of bethia mayfield, daughter of the puritan minister. the book not only touches on the racism and bigotry that caleb faces, but also the ways in which bethia fights against her role as a subservient woman unworthy of education or even making her own life choices. 

this memoir was a light read. i mean that in mostly a good way! i liked her take on how impossible it was to be perfect.

5. this is where i leave you by jonathan tropper
this is a book about FAMILY DRAMA amongst adult children. i expected it to be cliche and was quite surprised that the author had enough respect for his readers to keep things slightly unpredictable. basically, a family that does not get along is forced to sit shiva together for 7 days. some moments were very cringe worthy, but i grew to root for the narrator and his family of misfits.

6. busy monsters by william giraldi
i kept reading this book waiting for it to get better...on the book jacket it promised me yeti, sea monsters, sex slaves and space aliens. bleh...it was like a wanna be chuck palahniuk book. and the language...page after page of obscure words to describe mundane objects...it just got so stale. plainly, the author was trying too hard to be clever. NO to this book.

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