Yet More Books

August 24, 2009 at 9:35 am | Posted in Book Blather | 3 Comments

Here’s my reading from last week:

Airships – A trippy, experimental collection of short stories from the 70s.

Arrowsmith – A sticking point in my reading through the Pulitzers.  I enjoyed it but it seemed to take a month to read.

The Next 100 Years – RS and I discussed this book quite a bit.  There were areas that sounded astoundingly perceptive, and other areas that read like pure sci fi.  The book focuses on geopolitics.

Blankets – If you read Craig Thompson’s Goodbye, Chunky Rice you will be as astounded as I was that this graphic novel is done in an entirely different style.  It’s a beautiful, lyrical look at first love and the ideological challenges of teenagers.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.  It’s funny that I read it because I saw a character in another comic drawn reading it.

Why We Hate Us – I don’t think I was cranky enough to enjoy this book as much as I could have.  Dick Meyer talks about our lack of civic engagement and common courtesy.  True enough.

How to Paint a Dead Man – The first of my UK books!  I feel smug as can be that I got to read this before most people in the US, and I’ll know when the Booker short list is announced what more of the books are like.  This one is lovely and worth the read.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey – Dang it, I still can’t quite figure out the ending of this.  C’mon, give me a hint?  Actually, what I love in a book is that it leaves just enough unresolved that one can’t stop thinking about it.

Scarlet Sister Mary – Another Pulitzer winner.  I had to skip ahead because I feel compelled to read the entire Louis Bromfield trilogy instead of just Early Autumn, and, well, they’re enormous.

That Old Cape Magic – I love Richard Russo so much.  From the very first page I was smiling to myself.  He has a knack for the most realistic, trivial conversations that reveal all the many layers of complexity in family relationships.  His marriages in particular jump right off the page.  But the best part is the sublimely ridiculous comic moments.  It doesn’t get better than this.

Eating People is Wrong – Gotta love this title.  It’s a farce set in academia, and what’s funny is that Malcolm Bradbury didn’t become a professor until years after he wrote this book.

Hello, Again – A graphic novel about forgiveness.

What Begins With Bird – A very poetic literary book that probably went over my head a bit.

Sharp Objects – One of the very best of horror novels.  But don’t read it if you’re easily icked out.

On Fire – A great working man’s memoir about being a firefighter.  And dogs.  And beer.

The Quickening Maze – Haha!  This book isn’t even on the US Amazon site yet.  This is how a historical novel ought to be written, people.  And it’s even brief!  I am having high hopes for the rest of the Booker long list, given the three I’ve read so far.

Today I am reading Everything Matters!  The exclamation point is actually in the title, but I think I would use it when referring to this book anyway.  Reading it is a privilege.

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  1. I love Richard Russo too. I finally broke down and ordered That Old Cape Magic last week. I knew I’d eventually buy it so I figured why keep holding off?

  2. Just finished Arrowsmith—what’s interesting to me is that it took far longer for me to read than any of the other Pulitzers I’ve read so far…and the same was true of another Pulitzer blog. I’d thought it was because the book was not that enjoyable (neither I nor this other blog give it a very good review), but you report enjoying it and yet finding it slow, which ends that theory. So, any ideas about why it’s slow going no matter how much you like it? 🙂

    • It seemed to me that it was just really long! I read most of it on-screen as a free e-book, and it’s hard to tell how long something is in that format, but the actual book seemed to have unusually dense type. That’s why I’m always going on about measuring the content of books in kilobytes instead of pages.


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