Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace
There’s a certain type of British novel that I like — sad sack guy goes through break up, goes on some crazy adventures, meets some fun characters, and comes out a slightly better person. High Fidelity is obviously the apex of this genre, but Charlotte Street wasn’t a bad addition. Jason is still fuming over a break-up, living in a squalid London flat with his goofy friend Dev. He has a pointless job and a whole lot of self-loathing. One night, as he helps a cute girl get in a taxi, he accidentally ends up with her disposable camera. With help from a boisterous crew of characters, Jason is decides to try to track the girl down with the clues from her photographs.
This was a trifle of a book, but honestly a really fun one. Even at his whiniest, Jason is fairly sympathetic. His relationship with Dev is a sweet but still realistic example of adult friendship. The relationship angst, while hilarious, comes from a real enough place. All good things for a breezy, summery read.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Where’d You Go, Bernadette was one of the 2012 hit books, and I can see why. Bernadette is the wife of a Microsoft executive (and TED star), the mother of a star student at a very exclusive private school, and a former rising architecture star. Now, she spends most of her time hiding in her vine covered mansion, figuring out ways to avoid or anger the obnoxious mothers at her daughter’s school. And then, after booking a trip to Antartica for the family, she disappears.
This is also a pretty breezy read, thanks in part to its epistolary format. I always find that books in letter format are quick going, as you get to flit from character to character. Well, unless you’re talking about Pamela. Gah. That was hard going for young English major Mandy. Yikes.
But yeah, a satirical mystery about the overly rich. Again. Summer read. Apparently, I’m preparing for summer break a little bit early.