I start in on a bunch of stuff and get distracted. I won't say that my awesome streak is broken, but we're dialing it back to normal with a few duds among all the delight. So, a quick spin through the thanks-but-no-thanks list, with a stop in charming-and-delightful land to freshen up in the middle.
Misdiagnosed: One Woman's Tour of--And Escape From--Healthcareland, by Jody Berger. Didn't get much past the first chapter of this one--the problem with a memoir is that the narrator and the protagonist and the author are generally the same person, and if you don't like them, it's not worth going there. I rather like medical memoirs (though admittedly I've read more from the doctor's POV than the patient's), but from the very beginning the author just doesn't know how to handle the health care system. She doesn't ask good questions, gets annoyed when she's given a tentative diagnosis instead of a real one, insists that she doesn't take drugs (as in, I won't take aspirin), and clearly has trouble prioritizing her health and her travel appropriately. I understand that the system can be confusing, and that dealing with your health is scary, but she seems to bring the chaos with her, even by her own account. Pass.
Danny the Champion of the World, by Roald Dahl. Read this one out loud to Adam, and I was surprised at what a hit it was. I've often heard Danny's dad mentioned as one of the best parents in literature, so I was a little surprised that the story turned out to be all about poaching--kinda criminal, plus hunting which is not always embraced nowadays. I wasn't thrilled how the poaching was justified by how awful the victim was (Adam really liked saying "Mr. Victor Hazell," though), but it's true that it was a charming story, and Danny and his dad are just a great couple of characters. This was just a lovely book, and Adam really enjoyed it. I think he's old enough to follow Charlie & the Chocolate Factory now, and I'm excited to dive into more Dahl.
The Mind of Winter, by Laura Kesischke. Whoa, nellie, never you mind. Someone (Booksmugglers, maybe?) put this book on a list of anticipated releases ages ago, so when I saw it at the library I picked it up. When I read the blurb to Mike, he shook his head sadly. And I can see that--it's a thriller about a mom of an adopted Russian (adopted as a baby, now a teenager) who, trapped at home with her daughter in a blizzard, suddenly becomes obsessed with the idea that "something had followed them back from Russia."
Here again, though, we have a super unlikeable protagonist. To be fair, that was her thing--the author was clearly writing an unlikeable narrator. But there's a difference between observing that someone is superstitious and asking "what's wrong with them?" Your in-laws are not judging you every time they ask how you're doing. If you're that paranoid, a) I don't want to hang out with you for a whole book, and b) I don't feel a lot of sympathy when you start to feel persecuted by something you can't put your finger on. You clearly felt plenty persecuted before.
So that's the round up of late. More to come, though, because I also read a couple of interesting comics and a FABULOUS novel.
*Disclosure: I got a free advance copy of Misdiagnosed from the publisher.