Ellen (ennienyc) wrote,

Not-so-great books

I'm not too demanding of my reading. It just has to move along and entertain. Some books enthrall me and some don't. These didn't.

"A Taxonomy of Barnacles" by Galt Niederhoffer - The Barnacles aren't sea creatures but a wealthy Manhattan family (originally Baranski): daughters Bell, Bridget, Beth, Belinda, Beryl and Benita; father Barry, current wife Bunny, ex-wife Bella; neighbor twins Blaine and Billy. Got that? Neither did I, even after 239 pages with these annoying, self-absorbed characters. The plot went nowhere and I finally decided life was too short to waste any more time on this book. Several Amazon reviewers were less patient, so I don't think I missed anything. Maybe I'm just jealous that the author went to Harvard and I was rejected (different years), but aargh.

"Everything Hurts" by Bill Scheft - Another Harvard-educated author. I gave up as early as page 58. Amazon reviewers liked it a lot, so maybe it's just me, but the plot about a phony self-help guru in chronic pain was not sinking in at all. Scheft was a long-time writer for Letterman, who I never got either. I saw a lot of stand-up comedy years ago and am not sure if I ever saw the author, but did see (and liked) his wife, Adrianne Tolsch.

"The Summer of Naked Swim Parties" by Jessica Anya Blau - 14-year-old Jamie is not sure what to make of her hippie parents who smoke pot and have naked swim parties at their Santa Barbara house. During a summer in the '70s, she discovers boys and sex and grows up fast. I didn't like any of these people, but did finish the book.

"Woman Wanted" by Joanna McClelland Glass - This had an atmosphere of "ick" and gloom throughout. Emma flees a bad marriage in Boston to work in New Haven as the live-in housekeeper for a widowed Yale professor and his troubled 23-year-old son. Both woo her, and both win. Sort of. As distasteful as it sounds. This was made into an "Alan Smithee" movie in 2000 which apparently went straight to video.

"I Am Chrystie" by Chrystie Jenner with Patricia Wood - Before he became a reality TV star associated with Kardashians, Bruce Jenner won the 1976 Olympic decathlon in Montreal. By his side was his college sweetheart/wife Chrystie who wrote this 1977 memoir. She worked as a flight attendant and supported him through training and a 10th-place attempt at Munich in 1972, and now they were ready to reap the benefits of victory. Knowing that the couple ended up divorcing in 1980 makes it hard to feel Chrystie's pride and optimism. She seemed to want to forge her own identity and get some credit for Bruce's achievements, but really, would anyone be reading this without the Bruce part?

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