In the past month or so, reading hasn't provided the escape that it often does for me. In fact, I've really struggled to find books that I connect with. Sure, I've read some entertaining stories, but few of them have been particularly memorable.
Finally, my book luck seems to be changing. It started with Nick Hornby's "A Long Way Down" (Riverhead, $14), which comes out in paperback on Tuesday. The book, which opens on New Year's Eve, follows four people in London who all decide to commit suicide by jumping from the top of an apartment building.
Since they all arrive on the roof at about the same time, though, they end up saving each other's lives. The four have virtually nothing in common, but they become friends and end up hanging out together fairly often.
The story is told from four points of view. I think Hornby did a nice job capturing the individual voices of each character. I liked JJ, the American, best. He wants to kill himself because he can't really see a future for himself now that his band has broken up.
It doesn't seem like a book about suicide would be that funny, but "A Long Way Down" was pretty clever. I like Hornby's style. His "High Fidelity" (Riverhead, $14) is among my favorite books, although I did find his "How to Be Good" (Riverhead, $14) somewhat tedious. I have yet to pick up Hornby's "About a Boy" (Riverhead, $12), but it is on my to-be-read list.
I love my sister for many reasons, not the least of which is our shared taste in books. Right now, I'm also really happy for her because she recently got engaged.
Suddenly, as a bride-to-be, she's part of a completely different demographic. So far, though, my sister is not a bridezilla. In fact, she's the exact opposite - a low-key bride.
I am particularly excited by her choice in wedding reading material. Somehow, she has managed to avoid those massive bridal magazines almost entirely.
Instead, she's chosen books that are less about the perfect wedding and more about how to find bargains. So far, my favorite wedding book of hers is "The Anti-Bride Guide: Tying the Knot Outside of the Box" (Chronicle Books, $19.95) by Carolyn Gerin and Stephanie Rosenbaum.
How could I not like this book? It's funny, plus it has cute drawings and a spiral binder. Best of all, the cover features a retro design of red and orange.
Last week, my sister was in town from Seattle, but sadly, her stay was too brief for me to read much of "The Anti-Bride Guide." I'm thinking of asking her to save it for me, but I think it's definitely going to be a long, long time before I'm planning my own wedding.
In the meantime, I'm still trying to ignore all that advice from "He's Just Not That Into You." I am sure that somewhere out there is at least one guy who is just that into me. Hopefully, I won't need a book to find him.
If there's a book you think I really ought to read or you have information about upcoming author appearances in the Atlanta area, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.