In honor of Wimbledon or something, I finally brought Double Fault by Lionel Shriver out of the 'to be read' column of my spreadsheet. Maybe my long delay was prescient: I have been so captivated by everything else I've read by Shriver, but I just couldn't get into this one. Maybe both main characters were too flawed from start to finish, maybe there was an overabundance of telling not showing, but I felt divorced from their characters. (That tips at a pun, but not really, so don't worry about it.) Although, I do know a heck of a lot more about the game of tennis than I did before, which is something.
Also tennis-adjacent, though far more tangentially: Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. In some ways, it was far creepier than when I read it in college (H.H. is so cavalier about his pedophilia! Plus I have kids now.) It was still very entertaining - and made me jones for a road trip in a way that doesn't feel entirely wholesome. Just for the succession of funny little landmarks and the changing landscape and so forth, not for the evading the law part of things. Of course. I mean, you knew that already, right? Anyway.... Nabokov is a giddy-making stylist, and I also must give many many props to Jeremy Irons's narration of the audiobook, which was delicious. I read a pile of Nabokov sometime around my senior year of college, and I'm glad to know it wasn't just my pretentious "intelligentsia" phase that made me appreciate him.
For teen girls with an entirely different sense of self, I grinned through Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. You might know the authors from their fashion-skewering site, Go Fug Yourself, or maybe you knew one of them when she was a little child, like I did. (Oddly, though her big sister made my life worth living in my melodramatic late-elementary years, and I can still map out where her mom kept all the best snacks, we're not all BFFs and stuff. So it's more 'hey, that's... a thing' than 'hey, what an awesome claim to fame.') I was fans of their writing way before I figured out the connection - from recaps at TWOP, then their site - and was tickled to see they'd written a YA novel. It's set in fashionable, shallow Hollywood, where the insecure daughter of a Major Motion Star hunk-type is not happy to find out she has a practically farm-raised Midwestern half-sister of the same age. Or that Sis is loading up her stuff and moving to Beverley... Hills, that is. Swimming pools. Movie stars. Scary fashion-consciousness, and backstabbing, paparazzi, and of course teen angst, and daddy issues, and heartwarming growth with a cliffhanger epilogue that sets up an exciting Book Two premise. I told the soldier next to me on the plane home that it was bubblegummy, and a fun way to relax after the hectic pace of my two weeks of vacation in Ireland and England. And then he told me about having 12 days leave to see his friends and family after not being Stateside for five years. And then I let him have my packet of fancy crackers, because unlike Brick's daughter Brooke in the novel, I am not spoiled.