Summer Reading List: Groove and Bitter


It's Friiiiiiiiiday!

I'm spending the day doing laundry (yay!) so that I can pack tomorrow.  My original plan as to do a majority of the packing today but you know what?  Don't see that happening.  We're leaving on Sunday morning.  This morning Kyan, who is easily the most excited of all my kids, did his "two day dance."  He can't wait to go see his Uncle Booger, Aunt Jessica, Baby B, and, of course, Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln . . .

A couple books from this past week:

How Stella Got Her Groove Back by Terry McMillan - I have read several Terry McMillan books and really enjoyed them (favorite: A Day Late and a Dollar Short).  My only real complaint with her is that she tends to talk down on white people on ocassion and, well, WHITE PERSON.  I understand that I'm not her target audience though.  Anyway.  Stella is one of the few McMillan books I'd yet to read so I gave it a go this week. 

If you're not aware - and I think most people are since it was made it a movie and all - the book is the story of Stella, a 40-something from San Francisco who goes to Jamaica to have fun and "do her" for a few days. While there, she meets and falls in love with a 20-year-old Jamaican man named Winston. Half the book is her whining about how young he is and the other half is her rambling about something that makes absolutely zero sense to the plot.

Ya'll.  This book is a total snoozer.  The only way I was even able to finish it is because we took a Tennessee River Run on Sunday and, being in the car for about five round-trip hours, meant I had tons of time to read.  (Sidenote: does anyone else find that ereaders, iBooks, and Kindles make it so much easier to read in the car?  I get queasy if I read a regular book in the car but it doesn't bother me to read an iBook  Weird).  It also helped that I could visualize Winston and Taye Diggs.  I'm not sure if I found the book so boring because it actually IS boring or if it's because we know the outcome.  It was partly based on McMillan's own romance and, well, said romance went up in flames.  Not only did it go up in flames but the man Winston was based upon turned out to be gay and McMillan claimed he used her to gain citizenship.  Ai yi yi.  So much for a great story.

The thing is, though, the character of Stella rambles on too much and about things that have nothing to do with the story, nor do they help to develop her character any further.  I skimmed over entire pages because it was, like, seriously? She's rambling AGAIN?  It was just a boring book.  I can understand why they made it into a movie because the basic plot is great.  It just could've - and should've - been hashed out so much better.

Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag go the Unemployment Office by Jen Lancaster - I LOVE Jen Lancaster.  I love her.  I kinda want to BE her. (Or at least have her shoe collection).  She is funny and sarcastic and irreverant.  And - best of all - she owns who she is (just look at the title of this book!).  She also reminds me - a lot - of my friend Jenn B.  An annony noter left me the recommendation a couple weeks ago to read her books in order.  In my head, I know this is a good idea but I tend to get caught up in covers and descriptions sometimes.  I read Such a Pretty Fat a few weeks ago and absolutely adored it but, now I'm going in order.  Believe it or not, Bitter is even BETTER than Pretty FatTo say it's a good read would be an understatment.
It's the (true!) story of Jen Lancaster's own journey through unemployment.  She begins the book with an infactuation with all things Dior and Prada and, even if you can't relate (Hi!  I own exactly two designer items: a Louis Vuitton that I bought in Belize and is probably a knock off because the chain on it broke after a few months.  And a Coach wristlet that came (new, with tags!) from Goodwill) you still love her for it.  She is admitedly bitchy and narcisstic but you can't help but like her -- and root for her.

Through out the course of the book she learns a lot of important lessons.  And, really, I think part of what makes the book enjoyable is that we've all been there.  If you're anywhere close to your 30's then you know there's been a time in your life when you had an "OMG, how am I going to pay my bills" moment while simutaneously kicking yourself for wasting (former) paychecks at the shoe department of your favorite department store.  (Which totes reminds me of the Carrie Bradshaw quote: "I like my money right where I can see it.  Hanging in my closet").

I don't think I can write enough good things about this book.  Just.  Start reading Jen Lancaster books.  And start with this one.  Thank me later.

P.S. Lancaster got her start by BLOGGING.  Awesome, huh?  She's kinda my hero.
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