One more great book I wanted to pass along:
The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings. Very highly recommended reading
This book is one of those rare treats, like The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, where I thought--I haven't read this voice before. It's so fresh and vivid and real. How a 30ish woman so accurately nailed the voice of a 50ish father of teenage daughters, I don't know, but kudos to you, Kaui Hemmings.
Set in Hawaii, which was a big selling point for me, the book opens with Matthew King in a hospital room with his wife who is in a coma. Doesn't sound like a funny premise, but the book is hilarious. First line: "The sun is shining, mynah birds are chattering, palm trees are swaying, so what." Hemmings' writing reminded me that honesty can make anything funny. Watching this snarky, detached man try to parent a 17-year-old and 10-year-old daughter is funny. Watching him mess it up is funny. Watching his attempts to make amends is funny. And touching. And ultimately, sweet.
It's a powerful story, hard to put down, originally told. Oh, and I'm not the only one who thinks so. Apparently Alexander Payne (director of Sideways) just finished filming a movie based on this book. Pretty cool. And a little someone named George Clooney is the star. I wonder if Clooney could play a 20-year-old Mexican for the adaptation of my novel?