what I've been reading - The Dainty Squid

what I've been reading

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I have a decent start on my reading goal for this year. So far in 2014 I've read three books. (This post includes four because after my last "what I've been reading" post I managed to squeeze out one more book in 2013.) I could have read more but I got hung up reading one of the books. Once I start a book I have to finish it but that doesn't mean I don't try to avoid it. That's what happened for the better half of January, I avoided reading because I didn't want to finish a book. Yeah, definitely going to break that habit because I wasted some valuable reading time.
What I've been reading...
People Are Unappealing: Even Me by Sara Barron
Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky
Nine Years Under by Sheri Booker
A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown

A Piece of Cake was my least favorite of the group and the one that I hoped that if I ignored long enough it would finish itself. It may sound strange coming from the girl who literally cannot read enough books about sex work, the funeral business, and other taboo subjects but this book made me really uncomfortable. For some reason, I found it hard to empathize with her at all, and I was bored to death reading about her drug abuse. Other than that there's a lot of repetitiveness throughout the book. Saying something, then a paragraph or two later rewording it to mention it again. I couldn't finish it fast enough.

It took some time but Nine Years Under grew on me. I'm going to go ahead and snag a description from Amazon since it sums the book up perfectly - "Sheri Booker was only fifteen when she started working at Wylie Funeral Home in West Baltimore. She had no idea her summer job would become nine years of immersion into a hidden world. Reeling from the death of her beloved great aunt, Sheri found comfort in the funeral home and soon had the run of the place. With AIDS and gang violence threatening to wipe out a generation of black men, Wylie was never short on business." As far as books on the funeral business go I thought it was decent, still it wasn't on par with Curtains by Tom Jokinen, which was one of my favorites!

Heads in Beds is the tale of one man's career in the hotel industry. It's an enlightening look at how hotels work behind the scenes. Even if it's only one person's experience and most likely not an accurate portrayal of them as a whole, it still make you think about everything you do while booking, checking in and whether you tip or not. It was an easy read but nothing groundbreaking. 

My favorite from the group was People Are Unappealing: Even Me."People Are Unappealing tells the strange, funny, and sometimes filthy stories of Sara Barron’s twisted suburban upbringing and deranged attempt at taking the Big Apple by storm–first as an actor (then a waiter), then a dancer (then a waiter), then a comic (then a waiter)." -Amazon It was pretty funny but nothing worth raving about. Although, there are a few parts, particularly the story of the porn she wrote at age eleven, that I will randomly think of and crack up about.
All in all, this wasn't a very good batch of books. Nothing I'd consider a must read and nothing I'll actually be keeping on my bookshelf for very long. Let's hope the rest of the books in my to-read pile are better!
xoxo

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30 thoughts

  1. The best advice anyone ever gave me was telling me that I don't HAVE to finish a book. I was trying to read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and I just. couldn't. get. through. it. But I HAD to finish. I had to. My friend said something so simple: "If you don't like it, don't finish it." It was the simplest and most obvious idea, but it had never occurred to me. And it freed me and changed my life forever. Now, I still give books a real effort. I try and try to finish. But if I'm dreading it, or avoiding it, then I just let. it. go. Hope you can do that too!

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    1. I totally agree! Why torture yourself? Life is too short to waste on things we don't like ( if we don't have to, ofcourse, some things are unpleasant but necessary or meaningful).

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  2. I've been wanting to red Heads in Beds. I love reading behind the scenes accounts of how a certain type of business is run. I've read plenty of food and restaurant related books, but never one about the hospitality business!

    Elyse @ Cuddly as a Cactus

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    1. That title appeals most to me too! Especially since I spend so much time in hotels;-)!

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  3. Have you ever seen the movie Departures? It's a Japanese film about a musician who loses his job and ends up working in a funeral parlor, preparing bodies for burial. In Japan, nearly all bodies are cremated, not embalmed, and working with dead bodies is seen as incredibly unclean and taboo (like, all-the-neighbors-will-shun-us-if-they-find-out taboo). It's on Netflix, I think. You should check it out--it's very moving.

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    1. No, but that sounds awesome! I'll definitely check that out. Thank you! :)

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    2. Yeah, I remember this film, I think it got an Oscar couple years ago, it was amazing, if you're into quiet stories (I always am).
      I remember you saying you were into stripper memoirs, anything you'd recommend? Top 3 maybe?

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    3. Off the top of my head - Strip City by Lily Buran & Candy Girl by Diablo Cody. I know I've read more but for some reason, I'm drawing a blank.

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    4. Yay for Diablo Cody - I didn't know she wrote a book! Thank you so much!

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  4. I've wanted to read Heads In Beds for awhile. I think I will now! Thanks for reminding me about it.

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  5. You are a seriously epic reader! My goal is one book a month... and that's about all I can manage even with a love of reading. I'm a slow reader but I hope by getting into reading again I'll speed up a bit.

    I'm curious (I had a similar conversation with my boyfriend): How do you read? (aside from the obvious)... I mean, when I read I am literally reading the words as if out loud but in my head. But my boyfriend, he tends to just look at the words but doesn't say them to himself. I wonder if that's what makes him so quick. It's not even as if he is skimming the book, because his recall is something to die for!

    Random question... :)

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    1. It depends on where I am and how into the book I am. Sometimes if I'm having trouble reading I'll read out loud quietly to myself. But most of the time I don't say them to myself.

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  6. I loved Curtains, I'll have to check out Nine Years Under! I'm a fan of taboo subjects as well and read a lot, thanks for the great list!

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  7. Thanks for some great recommendations! I'm looking to read more books this year, as many as I can fit in, and it's always nice to find something different to read ^_^

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  8. I've gotten behind on my reading list this year! Definitely going to check some of these out. x

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  9. do you, by any chance, have a Goodreads account? I know that you always post about the books you read here, but it would be nice to see all of them listed somewhere :) I recently bought a Kindle Paperwhite and am filled with enthusiasm of getting new books, when I'm not limited by the amount of space on my shelves :D

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    1. I do, but I don't use it. Maybe I'll start using it soon. :)

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  10. Out of all of the books I've read in my life, A Piece of Cake is one of the two that I have never finished because I felt it to be such a huge waste of my time. I found it too difficult to believe it to be true (and I've read a lot of far fetched stuff) and, just like you, couldn't empathize with her. I really felt that it would have killed me to finish that book

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    1. SO glad to hear someone felt the same way. It has such glowing reviews, did those people even read the same book?!

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  11. i'm trying to do 50 this year, and i'm already at nine! i'll probably slow down once it gets warm again and laying in bed reading isn't the best option! haha. my favorite book this month was NOS4A2 by joe hill. it was super creepy and weird and good and once nice i stayed up late reading it and freaked myself out so bad when i got up to get a glass of water i ran back to bed! i totally recommend it!

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    1. Wahooo! You go girl!

      I know my reading always slows down when the weather warms up. In the cooler weather reading in the bathtub is my jaaaam!
      :)

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  12. Definitely agree with you on Nine Years Under - Curtains was definitely better, but I still enjoyed it. You might like The Good Nurse - I just finished it and it was pretty interesting and quick read.

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    1. Ohhh! The Good Nurse sounds awesome. Thank you!! :)

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  13. I read A Piece of Cake back when I was 18 or so. I don't remember much about it at all, except she always threw up at the smell of fried chicken when she was pregnant. I think the fact that this is the only part I remember speaks for how dull the book was!

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  14. People are Unappealing sounds great! I love quirky stories. I don't know if you're into Tina Fey at all, but her memoir is full of 'em and it's a great, easy read.
    Liz
    www.liz-makes.com

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  15. If you like reading about Sex Workers check out Australian author Kate Holden's In My Skin - it's quite an addicting reflection of her life as a prostitute in Melbourne during the 1990's

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  16. Listen. Go read A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore & STIFF by Mary Roach and tell me I'm not your new frand. Orrrrr A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny.

    Caden

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    1. I've already read everything by Mary Roach, she's my favorite nonfiction author. But I'll take a peek at those other books.

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