Monday, September 19, 2016

Reading Update

Book #110 of 2016 was The Secret History, by Donna Tartt.  This is a brilliantly done book, with not a single appealing character in it.  It's about murder; you find that out on the first page, and then spend the rest of the book learning the details.  Shudder.  I somehow couldn't put it down.

Book #111 was Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes.  I had heard a lot about this book, and the movie based on it, so I wanted to read it and see what I thought.  It reads as though it was written to be made into a movie.  Sort of a rom-com with euthanasia.  I didn't really like it, but I also found it pretty forgettable, and a few weeks after finishing it, I'm not able to summon many details about it.

Book #112 was a reread, one of my favorite books ever: The Peacock Spring, by Rumer Godden.  I read this as a teenager and loved the anguished cross-cultural dynamics of it.  I recommended it to my daughter this summer, and after she read it, I reread it, for the first time in many years.  I still love it.

Book #113 was We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler.  This was an amazing book, written by the author of The Jane Austen Book Club, which I liked well enough but which was very conventional.  This book, though, was so wildly inventive and unconventional.  The plot is such that you can hardly say anything about it without giving away the story, so I'll just say that it's about love, attachment, siblings, and loss.  It's written in a nonlinear and extremely clever way.  It grabbed my heart and pulled me in completely.  I think it's best read knowing only that much.

Book #114 was Have Mother, Will Travel, by Claire and Mia Fontaine.  This is the true story of a pseudonymous, privileged, psychologically aware mother and daughter and the trips they take together.

Book #115 was Beachcombers, by Nancy Thayer.  It's a story of sisters on Nantucket and their widower father.  Light and airy.

Book #116 was the third of the Passage Trilogy, The City of Mirrors, by Justin Cronin.  I'm really not sure why I liked this trilogy, since it's so very much not my kind of book - post-apocalyptic vampire fiction? - but I did like it. 

Book #117 was The Course of Love, by Alain de Botton.  This is the story of a marriage.  The narrator tells us that in fiction, and in real life, we focus too much on the beginning of a relationship, when the actual story is everything that comes after the beginning.  Although the text I read was borrowed on my Kindle from the library, I found myself underlining passages.  Here's one.  The two people, we are told, "feel a giddy loyalty to what they have built up together: their disputatious, fractious, laughter-filled, silly, beautiful marriage that they love because it is so distinctly and painfully their own."   Here's another: "Compatibility is an achievement of love; it shouldn't be its precondition."  This is a really fascinating book, and someday I'd like to read it again, but right now it's due back at the library. 


Jessica Stock said...

I always love reading your book reviews! I am going to check out We ARe All Completely Beside Ourselves. I read Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch and found the same to be true- no likeable characters. Maybe one. I had a hard time enjoying the book but I will try this one. I just finished The Course of Love this weekend. Hope you are recovering well Ruth!

Tabatha said...

Thanks for the rundown! I just put We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves in my cart. I couldn't get very far in The Goldfinch and I fear the same would be true of The Secret History. I am tempted by The Peacock Spring.