So I bought a ton of books recently, because the local Borders is going out of business (sob!). I've finished two of them.
I started Real World by Natsuo Kirino first. It was described as a feminist noir, and was translated from Japanese. Four teenage girls suspect one of their next door neighbors of murder, and then things get more complicated--or so the back of the book said. It sounded really exciting and up my alley, but it was not what I'd imagined.
First of all, there's really no question that Worm, the boy who lives next door to Toshi, has murdered his mother. Beyond that, though, I'd imagined that the girls would be trying to solve the crime. Instead, they rather randomly, passively support Worm's efforts to get away. And it's never really explained! I mean, I suppose they sort of justify some of their behavior, but I never, ever felt like Toshi and her friends were in any way like myself or people I've met. I couldn't understand their motives, and what's more, I didn't care too much about them. The reader is told differences between the girls (Kirarin is sweet, Terauchi is smart and sarcastic, etc.) but they're never really demonstrated. It was like "tell, don't show" was the maxim.
The other book I read was An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison. Dr. Jamison is a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, and also has bipolar disorder. An Unquiet Mind is the story of how she learned to deal with the disease, and how it's informed her work as a psychotherapist. I find well-written books about psychological disorders fascinating, and this one definitely was. It balances stories of what she did while manic or depressed, how the disorder is treated, and how it changed her life. I appreciated that it wasn't just "here is messed up stuff about my life." She actually synthesized her experiences and reached important questions.
Whoa, I just saw my purple Donna Morgan dress on a Burlington Coat Factory commercial, on a woman loaded down with shopping bags from their fabulous sale or whatever.