02 November 2007

My "Last 5"

Today's post is going to take a page from one of my favorite podcasts, Cinebanter. The film critics responsible for the podcast have a feature called "The Last 5" where they talk about the last five movies they saw in theatres or on television. (Hey Tassoula and MichaelVox, I know you say it's a copy-written feature, so please know this is an homage. Listen to Cinebanter! It's hilarious and interesting.) Since I haven't been posting in a while (ahem... bad blogger), it might be useful to take stock of the last five books I read for fun. But first, here are the last five books I read to review:

V. Valerie Stivers, BLOOD IS THE NEW BLACK
IV. Abigail Jones and Marissa Miley, RESTLESS VIRGINS
I. Henrik Vejlgaard, ANATOMY OF A TREND

And now, my last five-for-fun (all, as it turns out, from the library):

5. Diana Peterfreund, SECRET SOCIETY GIRL. After finishing the GOSSIP GIRL series I wanted to try out some other inappropriate-for-my-age YA literature, so when I heard on IvyGate that a first-time author was writing a series about a fictional secret society, I thought that was worth a shot.
You know how I like secret societies! (And yes, the author went to Yale, though the book's set at a made-up school.) It was a fun, fast read, and I'm looking forward to the second and third books.

4. Seth Margolis, CLOSING COSTS. Three families interact with the same New York realtor in their quest for the perfect place: A retired couple decides to sell and move into something a little smaller; a dot-com mogul, his wife and their twins face a hideous renovation when they find a big-enough place with "great bones"; and an Upper East Side society wife is forced to move back in with her parents after a reversal of fortune. This book was fairly suspenseful while I was reading it, but all in all wasn't too memorable -- I enjoyed the New York landmarks and setting, though.

3. Mary Childers, WELFARE BRAT. I picked this book up on the recommendation of the blogger behind Sex Ed In Higher Ed, and I had a reaction very similar to hers (which you can read here). It reminded me of THE GLASS CASTLE in its lack of sentimentality, and in the way it contained moments where I had to put the book down, I was so frustrated with the writer's surroundings and the obstacles she faced.

2. Fiona Neill, SLUMMY MUMMY. A favorite book of the year by Vogue editor Anna Wintour, this is a contemporary novel along the lines of I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT, chronicling the foibles of a mother of three in London over the course of the school year. Unlike I DON'T KNOW..., though, this mom's mishaps are hilarious, not guilt-inducing and shameful, and the ways the mom describes her fellow preschool parents (including the Alpha Mum and the dreamy stay-at-home father) are incisive.

1. Sara Voorhees, THE LUMIERE AFFAIR. This was an impulse pick-up at the library's New Fiction shelf, which I chose because of its subtitle, "A Novel of Cannes." The book follows an entertainment journalist from L.A. named Natalie, a first-timer at the Cannes Film Festival and who (as it turns out) has a tragic history associated with France and rooted in her childhood. As we find out in the opening chapters, Natalie's mother left her father while she was pregnant and moved to Paris, where she fell in love with an art dealer. On a jaunt to the country, Natalie, the mother and her lover are caught in a freak storm and struck by lightning; subsequently, Natalie is sent to live with her father in Arizona, and is only now returning to France. I was a little nervous after reading the first few chapters that it might turn into a conventional chick-lit type of book, but instead the plot thickens considerably and was quite suspenseful.

Phew. Leave your "last 5" in the comments! Have a good weekend.


Elizabeth said...

Books I've read in their entirety:

1. Diane Duane, WIZARD'S HOLIDAY. I'll put this in the inappopriate-for-my-age YA literature category.

2. J.K. Rowling, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. (I can already sense your horror at how infrequently I read books. I read periodicals, I swear.)

3. Susanna Clark, THE LADIES OF GRACE ADIEU AND OTHER STORIES. (Have you noticed a wizardy theme yet?)

4. Kurt Vonnegut, BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS. (Even I read Classics sometimes, especially by fellow alums.)

5. Thomas Myers and Michael Ghiglieri, OVER THE EDGE: DEATH IN GRAND CANYON. (Speaking of alums, a U of C medical student died in Grand Canyon while I was in college, but that was after this book was written. The table in the back has been updated, though, so an abridged version of her story can be found there.)

Tassoula said...


I'm so glad to know we have an actual reader in our fan base!

Thanks for the shout-out in your blog. So long as you use our name when you mention your Last Five, we wont sue (just kidding).

Now, for the important stuff. The Last Five books I've read:

1. GOD BLESS YOU, MR. ROSEWATER by Kurt Vonnegut (I'm a longtime fan and have been revisiting most of his works since I learned of his passing, for nostalgia's sake. Fun fact: He was the topic of my senior thesis in college).

2. THE HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES by Nathaniel Hawthorne (One of the few literary landmarks in the US I've actually visited. I always try to re-read this one around Halloween because of its spookiness).

3. A ROSE FOR HER GRAVE by Ann Rule (I'm a sucker for true crime and have met this very nice author on many occasions—she's a Seattle-ite too).

4. LIPSTICK JUNGLE by Candace Bushnell (I'm not nearly as much of a book snob as I am a film snob. This should prove it).

5. FARGO ROCK CITY by Chuck Klosterman (My favorite essayist on the planet earth. Nothing short of brilliant—even if he pokes fun at Bono).

So there you have it. Tassoula from Cinebanter's Last Five books.

Now you just have to send us your Last Five films for the show...