Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Past Can Be Refreshing

Story of this next one: We walked to Goldie and Aharon's baby's bris and Esther Twersky offered to let me nurse in her house since she lives right near the shul.  I took her up on it, and she very nicely offered me a choice of reading materials.  She had lots of exciting used book, childhood favorites type.  Plenty of Gordon Korman, and she also had this author Keith Robertson.  He's the author of the Henry Reed books, which I used to read back in the day (and more or less enjoyed), but apparently he's the author of several other books as well.  I selected one of them, The Money Machine, started it while I was nursing, and took it home with me to finish.

The book is a children's mystery, with that old-timey feel of Henry Reed, Beverly Cleary etc - when children got around on bicycles, did their chores and lived wholesome and energetic lives.  The protagonists of The Money Machine (it's actually the last in a series with these boys) run a detective agency.  The mystery involves a counterfeit ring.  Not *too* high stakes, but of course, seriously dramatic for high school.  I'm not a huge fan of mysteries for their own sake, though I read many of them for various reasons of course.  So the actual clue-tracking and culprit-exposing wasn't overly important to me.  What impressed me more (I mean that in the sense of made an impression on me) was the old-timey feel of it all.  The mild manners, the slow pace, the secure atmosphere - all make for a relaxing read, despite any tension that arose from all the tight spots that happened along the way.  Not that I'm particularly nostalgic, and definitely not nostalgic for a time and place I never knew, but the wholesomeness of all did get to me.

At least I think that's what it was.  The bottom line is I found it to be an easy read.  As a children's book, I wouldn't have expected much else.  Even so, I think the old-fashioned neat-and-cleanness contributed plenty.

Verdict: 3.5/5

In Which the Likeability of the Author Matters

A while ago, Dov went to Barnes and Noble randomly and picked up a few titles (not at all my thing of course, I would never waste money on that :)), one of which was a somewhat interesting intro to popular physics book that I think is currently in CL, of which I have read only a small part. The other is Mindy Kaling's memoir (such a serious word, but I think it is the correct one), whose title is (having just looked it up) "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?".  I wouldn't say celebrity comedic memoirs are exactly my usual thing, but I have been known to read the occasional humor book.  And Dov went through this one quite quickly so I assumed I'd be interested :) I finally got around to reading it right after Naomi was born (brought it with me to the hospital, I think I started it there), which means we're talking about six months ago at this point - I think I still remember what I want to say though :)

And that's that I did indeed enjoy the book, and got through it relatively quickly - lots of stops and starts with nursing, but my interest never flagged.  The book was fun and well-written (for the genre).  But was more interesting was how much I actually liked Mindy.  She really seems... "normal".  Now I know that sounds incredibly celebrity-fake-modesty-y, but it's not just her early nerdiness and youthful struggles that humanizes her. She actually seems to have decent values - parents who push their kids (Indians of course :)), good friends she hangs with, a healthy appetite :)... She just seems like a person I would actually like! Which I just don't think I'd say about Tina Fey or Amy Poehler or Ellen Degeneres, even though I find them all very funny.  Not only did Mindy make me enjoy the book, the book actually made me enjoy her show all the more.  Mindy from The Mindy Project seems very much like Mindy from the memoir (which was written before the show, so it's not like she deliberately set out to make herself seem like her character).  Her antics on the show seem much more funny now that I see how they are rooted in the real, and quite likeable, Mindy.

So, anyway, a good, quick, fun read that actually surprised me in how much I enjoyed it :)

Verdict: 4/5