Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Chemistry of Tears

Written by: Peter Carey

First line: Dead, and no one told me.

Why you should read this book: When talented horologist Catherine Gehrig learns of her lover's untimely death, her entire world seems to run down, and Catherine can't even publicly mourn her loss, because her lover was married and worked at the same museum where she restored automatons. Only their boss knows her situation, and he sends her to another site to restore a stunning artifact, one that comes with its own story of love and loss. As Catherine repairs the fabulous machine, she reads the story of its benefactor, Henry Brandling, and begins to heal from her loss.

Why you shouldn't read this book: I found all the main characters pretty unlikeable as human beings; everyone is so caught up in their grief that they can't be bothered not to be terrible to everyone around them.

The Party after You Left

Written by: Roz Chast

First line: I survived conjunctivitis.

Why you should read this book: I'm sure I've read plenty of Chast's work without realizing it; her hilarious cartoons have been featured prominently in the New Yorker for years. Most of the pages in this book were laugh-out-loud funny to me, a surprising consistency of modern irregularity and relationship absurdity. Just a really nice collection of cartoons for adults.

Why you shouldn't read this book: In your day, things were different, and you like it that way. You liked it just fine. Also: you feel that mixed marriages are an abomination, no matter the mix.

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil

Written by: Stephen Collins

First line: Beneath the skin of everything is something nobody can know.

Why you should read this book: Dave, an almost completely ordinary man, lives an almost completely ordinary life on an island called Here, where perfect conformity isn't just a dictate, it's a way of life, until the day his previously nonexistent beard goes crazy and starts to take over. All the island's hairdressers and all the island's gardeners can't keep this irrational and non-conforming facial hair in check, and eventually Dave must capitulate to the beard, because there is no controlling it. Meanwhile, everyone on the island will be affected by the chaos of the beard incident, learning that a little uncontrolled chaos can be a positive thing for a society.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You strongly believe that unconventional hairstyles disrupt not only the learning process, but the stability of society in general.