For two whole days I have jury duty. Two days! Of sitting in a room with darkened windows and gray walls and stained carpet. Oh the humanity. Fancyhats has requested that I not text him with every single observation I have about my fellow jurors and/or the people I will be judging. I hope I get on a small trial, frankly. It seems interesting, or maybe it isn’t.

I also rode my bike here. In Portland it takes me less time to ride my bike downtown than it does to drive a car. I swear, I want to kiss this city sometimes.

So far I have no observations about my fellow jurors. They all seem like normal people except for the person who heated up what smells to be a Chef Boyardee meal in the common microwave. Dude! It’s 8am! And the person sitting near me who has all of her notifications on LOUD. She just sent an email, by the way.

For this hour’s blog post, I thought I’d review a two books. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Death of Bees

We’ve covered my love of books set in Scotland. For years and years, I loved anything set in England, and then I realized that Scottish books are really what I want — it’s all tea and all grit all the time. The English books have genteel moments. The Scottish books are all down and out. So. Death of Bees. This book is set in Scotland and it had that thing that some books have: they’re addictive but still a bit irksome. The premise of this novel is two young girls have buried their parents in a shallow grave in their backyard. I’m not giving anything away because it happens right at the beginning. I just couldn’t quite get past that premise, but I also couldn’t put down the book. All three of the voices were superb and the writing was excellent. But ugh! That plot point. The end suffers from the same drama as the beginning. I wish the characters had been put into a different position. I think the writer and the characters would have both thrived with a bit more of a challenge.

The Interestings

Have you read the reviews of this book? People love, love, love it. I’m reading it now and I love, love, love it. Jeffery Eugenides reviewed it and he loved it too, which is gracious of him when you consider his nauseating remarks on women writers. And when you consider that The Interestings is what the Marriage Plot believed itself to be. The Interestings is epic and tiny. Wolitzer covers huge swaths of time and reflects them in the minutia of her character’s lives. I’ve laughed out loud at several passages and feel an ache for these characters. I want to read this book slowly and spend more time with these characters. So excited to be reading it.

Up next:

Life After Life (EEK!) 

The Flamethrowers 

The Dinner