Books I have read/am currently reading on this trip:
The Thorn Birds / Colleen McColough -- Loved it. Long amazing epic novel with all the twists and turns. Plus it mentioned places in New Zealand and Australia where I visited. Tragic tragic tragedy. I cried, and then cried some more, all that good stuff.
Flannery O'Connor short stories -- What is this lady, depressed or something? Her stories are totally bleak and I think I could have gotten more into it if I had been in my cozy basement in front of a fire, instead of trying to have a GOOD TIME on vacation. Of notable mention was 'A Good Man is Hard to Find'...bleak bleak bleak, not Cormac McCarthy bleak, but bleak enough.
First They Killed My Father -- Super good, but a sad and gutwrenching account of a little girl whose family lived in Cambodia in 1975 when the crap hit the fan and the Khmer Rouge started killing doctors and lawyers and people with glasses and everybody who used to be involved with the previous government, including the little's girls dad who was a police officer. Then they forced everybody to work on farms and rice fields and starved them into working extra hard so they could ship off the rice to China in exchange for weapons.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan / Lisa See -- A book about Chinese footbinding and man oh man the disgusting description of the footbinding is worth the whole read. And at the end there's a nice lesson for anybody who has ever had a friend. Woman-abuse at it's finest. Thanks, China.
The Bible -- trying to read it all in one year. Not finished yet, obviously. Too slow at times, too fast at others, but overall I give it a thumbs-up.
Bastard out of Carolina / Dorothy Allison -- sad little tale of a girl in the South whose momma marries the WRONG dude. Seriously the wrong dude.
A Child Called It -- yikes. Hope you like abuse and neglect, and poor writing/publishing/editing. Nuff said. I didn't like this book. Forgive me for saying this, but it could have been horrible-r. If the writer was any good at writing. I wanted to feel bad for him, really I did. But I kept noticing editing mistakes where I should have been noticing burning on the stovetop and starvation and abusive alcoholic parenting.
Zeitoun / Dave Eggers -- A fair to middlin' book about Hurricane Katrina. If you're a Dave Eggers fan, you'll love it, but if you're not, I feel dumb 'recommending' this book. It's good, but not AWESOME. Good points: great storytelling, and might help an ignorant American like myself understand what a Hijab is and why not all Muslims are what you might have thought they were.
Sanctuary / William Faulkner -- I consider myself to be of average intelligence, but keeping all of the characters straight in this knockout of a story was difficult. Too many characters get introduced and Faulkner will call somebody by their name in one sentence and call them 'the man' in the next and you never know he's talking about the same dern person. Great book, not a 'light read' by any means. Save this one for the middle of winter when you're snowed in. And prepare to get very angry with a certain character named Gowan, and another one named Temple, though it really wasn't her fault.
Love on the Rocks / Victoria Henry -- was desperate for a book and traded for this one. Absolute rubbish, indulgent rubbish. Do not read this book. Unless you want to be caught up in a naughty little light beach read that you won't be able to put down, that is. I hated it. And I loved it. Don't read it. Here's the cliff notes:
Lisa, a beautiful 5'2" curvy beauty, storms off her modeling job. She is sick of being hit on all the time. George, a successful and gorgeous businessman, storms off HIS job. He is sick of screwing over the little man, and having to grin and bear it. Turns out Lisa is George's girlfriend and the two of them decide to leave for a weekend at the oceany coast of England and end up choosing a run down hotel called 'The Rocks' because it's raining really hard and they have no other choice. They fall in love with the place, and decide to buy it. But Bruno, a rich local wanted to buy it. But they buy it. George's WIFE Victoria Snow shows up with her daughter, destitute because her boyfriend throws them out, penniless. We didn't know George was married, and we hate this woman and her impetuousness. But soon we realize that Victoria and George really do belong together, especially after she gets PREGNANT and then jilted Lisa falls in love with Bruno, and they buy out George's interest in the newly renovated and wildly successful 'The Rocks' hotel. Oh, and in an annoying subplot Bruno's brother Joe accidentally dies after HE has an affair with a girl and gets HER pregnant, and she tells nobody until the baby is two years old, but everybody's happy because they miss Joe so much and now he has a SON! The End.
Oh, and because of that STUPID INSIPID book, I have had "Love on the rocks...what a surprise....do ditty do...look in your eyes" in my head for TWO WEEKS!