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A GOOD READ: Grab bag of good books
So many books, so little time. Here are some worth your time:
• My Lurid Past by Lauren Henderson is chick-lit for grown-ups. It’s aptly-named, fun and it has a bit of romance but it’s not sugary sweet. Juliet Cooper is the quintessential 30-something urban woman. She works in food PR, which is a lot flashier than it sounds as her biggest client is an up-and-coming celebrity chef. Juliet isn’t in a relationship with anyone and she’s OK with that until the day that she isn’t. The books starts with Juliet ready to embark on an brief affair with a young man. Unfortunately for Juliet, and the young man, that’s the day that she finds short-term relationships are no longer working for her. Juliet, confused by how she’s feeling, talks to her two best friends Mel and Gillian. They both have their own relationship issues so, between the three of them, there is a lot to discuss. This is an entertaining urban romance that doesn’t end in a neatly tied bow.
• Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann ties a group of very different people together using an amazing incident: a man walking across a wire between New York’s twin towers. The first group of stories detail the life of Corrigan, a radical young Irish priest who ministers to a group of prostitutes in a very bad part of the city. The story then goes on to a group of mothers who have lost their sons in the Vietnam war. From there, we learn about the life of a young artist and, after that, we read about a judge. These disparate stories end up beautifully woven together in an absolutely excellent book that will stay with you long after you’ve finished it.
• Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss takes a critical look at the power the fast food giants have over consumers. The amount of research fast food companies have done on what makes salt, sugar and fat so irresistible is mind-boggling. This book discusses what these companies have done with this information. We all know that large amounts of fast food are bad for us but we eat ourselves sick anyway. This book doesn’t remove blame from the individual but it does highlight the amount of money thrown at these food products to get us to spend our limited food dollars on them. It is not the most uplifting book but it’s a valuable read, and great for anyone interested in food science or marketing.
• Beat the Band by Don Calame is a hilarious young adult novel about three teenage boys: Coop, Matt and Sean. This story centres around Coop and his attempts to become one of the cool kids. Coop suffers a major setback as soon as the school year starts when he is paired with Helen for a semester-long health project. It wouldn’t be so bad if Helen was a nobody but, instead, she is the least popular person in Coop’s grade. Coop has decided that he and his two best friends need to counteract his association with Helen by competing in the school’s Battle of the Bands contest. Everyone loves a rock star and Coop is pretty sure he has what it takes. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t know how to play an instrument and neither do his friends. But, whatever, they have a couple of months to practise and what possibly could go wrong? This story is funny and heartwarming, and an occasionally painful reminder of what life in high school was like.
A Good Read is a column by Tri-City librarians that is published on Wednesdays. Sharon Visser Araujo works at Terry Fox Library in Port Coquitlam.