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September 07, 2007

August Books

2007 Finishes: Books , 2007 Finishes: Books

One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding by Rebecca Mead
Genre: Sociology
Pages: 245
Rating: 4.5
This was a fascinating exploration of the business side of weddings. Mead talked to wedding planners, photographers, ministers, travel agents, and many brides; she went to a wedding dress factory in China, various wedding business conventions, and wedding-oriented resorts in Aruba and Jamaica. Her main point was to show the way that the wedding industry has shaped the perception of what is "traditional" or even "necessary" for American weddings, and to explore what this says about American culture in general. To some extent, she is trying to find out what weddings really "mean" now that they often don't mean the start of living together, having sex, etc.; she concludes that a lot of the consumerism associated with modern weddings serves as a substitute for meaning. Mead has a somewhat holier-than-thou attitude which is finally explained in the epilogue, when she mentions that she herself got married halfway through writing this book. (Personally, I would have liked to have had that information in the beginning.) I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who is getting married, participating in a wedding, or just interested in weddings or social history.

Back to Mr. & Mrs. by Shirley Jump
Genre: Romance
Pages: 192
Rating: 3
I don't read series romance often, but this one is by a writer I've known a bit on various forums, so I figured I'd give it a try. It wasn't anything particularly memorable, but the story was cute enough, and the writing was decent.

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
Genre: YA fantasy, romance
Pages: 629
Rating: 4.4
This is the third novel in the Twilight series, about a girl who falls in love with a vampire. Now, there are lots of teen books about girls falling in love with vampires, but this series is actually good. The characters are complex and real (well, except that some of them are vampires and werewolves and things) and there are all sorts of literary references and the whole thing is wonderfully atmospheric. I read this whole book on the plane on the way home from Texas. It dragged a bit at times, but overall, it was great, as I've come to expect from this series. Definitely start the series at the beginning, though, because this one wouldn't make any sense read on its own.

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos
Genre: Juvenile, slice-of-life
Pages: 196
Rating: 3.6
The paper I write for gave me the newest book in this series to review, and because I'm insane, I felt it necessary to start at the beginning of the series. My feelings about this book were somewhat mixed. Basically, it's the story of a boy who has ADHD and a fairly awful family situation. The writing is amazing - Gantos really gets inside his character's head and (I assume) does a good job of portraying the thought processes of someone with ADHD. And it's all quite funny, and then you stop and think about what's actually happening, and it's sort of devastating at the same time. But the problem is that these are supposed to be children's books, and I think most of what made them so good would be lost on most young readers (especially the "reluctant readers" to whom these are often recommended). The writing is difficult and I'm not sure a lot of kids would catch some of the things that are actually happening, as it's all seen through the boy's eyes and therefore is somewhat difficult to figure out at times. So. I can't decide.

Posted by Kat at September 7, 2007 09:19 AM
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