Book #86 of 2016 (yes, I did skip #85, but you'll find it at the end of this post) was The Night Manager, by John le Carré. I often find his books a little confusing, since there are usually a lot of spy-type characters who seem interchangeable to me. This one was no exception. Now I'm watching the TV series, but they changed it a lot, so it isn't much use for figuring out the characters. Oh well. Here's a le Carré book I liked better.
Book #87 was Peacekeeping, by Mischa Berlinski. Berlinski's first novel, Fieldwork, was one of the best books I read in 2009 (the link is to the Reading Update post that contains my review). This new novel is about Haiti. I often find it hard to read about Haiti while I am here; everything feels too close and real. That happened with this book, although it was brilliant. The author had invented much craziness associated with an election. We've had an election going on here for well over a year, with cancellations and postponements and protests and recounts and a provisional government, and you can't really make up craziness that surpasses the actual craziness. I do recommend this book, as he has really captured the feeling of Haiti, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I didn't live here - if that makes any sense.
Book #88 was The Uncoupling, by Meg Wolitzer. A high school drama teacher decides to put on a production of Lysistrata, the Greek play in which the women of Athens decide to abstain from sex until the men agree to stop the war that is dragging on and on. As the students rehearse for the play, a strange spell comes over the women of the town, causing them to lose interest in men. Wolitzer handles the touch of magical realism well, turning the slight story into a surprisingly thought-provoking study of relationships between men and women.
Book #89 was Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell. A lot of my students read this book this past school year. It's a pretty intense portrayal of teenage love. Personally, I wouldn't recommend it to kids as young as my middle schoolers, but many of them loved it.
Book #90 was The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion. Surely someone will make this into a movie. It's a cute, over-the-top story about a professor who is definitely "on the spectrum," as they say, and his search for a wife.
Books #85 and #91 were both by Mary Renault: The King Must Die and The Bull from the Sea. I read these aloud to my husband. (I love reading aloud; it is one of my very favorite things to do.) I had read these books before; my high school Latin teacher introduced me to Renault's novels. These two are about Theseus, and we both enjoyed them immensely.
Three of the books in this post have earthquakes in them.
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