Girl Walks into a Bar… by Rachel Dratch
I’ve always liked Rachel Dratch. Definitely one of the funnier cast members on SNL back in the day, great cameos in the first season of 30 Rock, and a fun guest on Watch What Happens Live. This book is one third showbiz, one third coming of age, and one third relationship/family. I decided to listen to the audio book just because I wanted something light and not taxing. It is that, but I wasn’t expected to find it as charming as I did. Dratch is a great story teller and narrator and makes me wish I could hang out with her.
The Schirmer Inheritance by Eric Ambler
An American lawyer in the early 1950s has to track down the heir to a large estate or the whole kit and caboodle goes to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. His search takes him to a Europe still trying to figure things out in the aftermath of the war. I’ve said before that I love Ambler so much because his thrillers are low on violence and high on files, and timetables, and messages left with hotel porters. This one had a bit of a surprise towards the end that leaves me really wanting to discuss it with someone else who has read it.
Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
I really like the HBO show Girls. I think it is one of the best written shows on TV. I don’t necessarily like any of the characters, but I do like bits of most of them. As a whole they are pretty insufferable, but the are fascinating in their outlook and creativity and sheer looniness. And through it all there are amazingly powerful and endearing moments. The same goes for this book of essays. Having seen her film Tiny Furniture and watched Girls, and followed her for a while on Twitter and now having listened to her read this collection of essays, they all kind of blend together and there is a certain amount of repetition. It was only after finishing this book that I remembered the fact that I had followed her on Twitter and stopped because I found her feed to be too much like her character. For as much as I find her fascinating and witty and smart, she can also be tediously precocious. I do think she is a bit of a genius, and on balance I like her work a lot, but it isn’t without it’s annoyances.
The Accompanist by Nina Berberova
I’m always on the lookout for fiction that includes classical music in an intelligent way. This novella certainly does that but I found it all a little too Russian for my tastes. I kept hoping for some glimmer of happiness or success.
Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
I picked this up at the library just because I wanted to take a chance on something I new nothing about and because I could use more ethnic diversity in my reading list. What started out as a tale of the Nigerian Civil War (like a less devastating Half a Yellow Sun) turned into a Lesbian coming of age tale. Given the age was the 1960s and the place was Nigeria, this is LGBT territory I had never encountered before. The book was fascinating for that reason, but it was also a good story in its own right. It’s finding a book like this that makes me want to eschew my TBR pile and spend more time getting more things from the library.
The Prince’s Boy by Paul Bailey
This story of gay love in 1927 Paris may be a bit artier and Proust-obsessed than it needed to be, but it was still a lovely, tragic tale with more than a little shade of Giovanni’s Room kicked in for good measure.
The Schirmer Inheritance is an Ambler I don’t have, so I can’t discuss it with you – but I do love Ambler and am glad he’s getting read again.
I’m planning to read Berberova at some point, and see just how much ‘too’ Russian is…