Here are the other books I enjoyed reading this summer.
I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK: And Other Thoughts On Being A Woman by Nora Ephron
This series of essays cracked me up. Before she became a screenwriter/director, Ephron was a celebrated writer for Esquire, New York Magazine and several other publications.
Her essay about her apartment in the Apthorp reminded me of how lucky I was to find my old apartment in NYC. She had to pay a $25,000 key fee (insane) in 1980. Her rent was $1500. Then a few years ago the city passed new laws regarding rent stablized apartments. Her rent went up to $10,000 a month, then would be raised later to $12,000 a month for a place that was falling apart. The way she writes about her old neighborhood and her move to the Upper East Side is too funny. I have friends in NYC who refuse, yes refuse, to go above 14th Street during the weekend.
AT THE ELBOWS OF MY ELDERS: One Family’s Journey Toward Civil Right by Gail Milissa Grant
Grant happens to be an American expat in Rome.
I have read many books about the civil rights movement, but it was interesting to read one set mostly in the '40s and '50s as opposed to the '60s.
I had mixed feelings while I read the book. Reading about the injustices of that time was difficult. However, the bravery of people like Grant's father is inspiring.
I wish more people knew about this era of American history. Maybe certain folks (hello, Tea Party) would think twice before running their mouths about "real Americans". Were it not for the slaves, America wouldn't be America. What do these people think would have happened to the economy (especially in the South) without free labor? Post Troy Davis' execution, I can't even get into the moral, political, and socio-economic ramifications of slavery. And yes, we are still dealing with the fallout centuries later.
While the subject matter was serious, there were many light moments in the book. It was fun to read about Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, Josephine Baker, and all the other famous entertainers who found refuge at the Grant home.
THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF STYLE by Nina Garcia
As I wrote earlier, I'm trying to rework my closet. I can't afford to add new clothes, but I could take some to a tailor and donate the clothes I don't wear.
I really like Garcia's style and advice. This little book was packed with great information and lovely illustrations by Ruben Toledo.
Garcia covered basics, when to wear what, had insider tips, and included a "Cliff Notes" section that broke down style by the decades.
A quick read and a great resource.
32 CANDLES by Ernessa T. Carter
This is the debut novel from Carter. It's about a poor, unattractive, dark-skinned girl from small town Mississippi who is constantly bullied. She becomes obsessed with the movie "16 Candles" and a new boy in town who comes from a very wealthy family.
After one prank too many, she escapes to L.A. where she reinvents herself as a singer in a funky nightclub.
Years later, the boy she had the crush on shows up Los Angeles. He doesn't remember her. She doesn't tell him who she is (or used to be).
I loved the characters who worked with Davie in L.A. There were many laugh out loud moments.
The beginning of the book is quite intense. I wasn't expecting it, since I thought it was a rom com. Her mother was a complete nightmare and the bullying was beyond vicious.
WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Sara Gruen
A friend gave me this book. I see why it was a bestseller. Unfortunately, I read it after the movie version came out. I kept seeing sparkly vampire Robert Patterson in my head.
The story is told in flashbacks. A young man attending Cornell has to drop out after his parents die in a car accident. Distraught, he hops on a train. It turns out to belong to a circus.
Gruen does a great job of sucking you into the world of the big top. The book takes place during the Great Depression. She captures the despair and cruelty of that time.
The love story between Jacob and Malena probably would have felt more powerful and emotional to me if I were able to stop thinking, "Reese Witherspoon and Robert Patterson? Together? WTF?"
That said, I do want to see the movie. I love Christoph Waltz and can't wait to see him play the psycho villan August.
Rosie the elephant is the bomb.