Tuesday, January 09, 2007

"...and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church." - Ferdinand Magellan

I finished Nicole Krauss’ The History of Love on my lunch break; in fact, I was ten minutes late coming back, despite knowing I was on Virtual Ref at two, because I HAD to finish it.
I liked it.
I liked its two protagonists, Alma and Leo.
I liked its complexity, and the uncertainty of its plot, and the uncertainty of its characters.
I liked the subplots, and the minor characters, who despite not being heavily involved in the story are developed perfectly, lightly yet completely.
I liked how…unresolved...the entire book is, and yet, when you are finished, you take a deep breath and sigh, "Ah!"

I liked it enough to recommend it to people, and I liked it enough to plan on buying it, and I definitely liked it enough to reread it. In fact, I imagine it will be even better upon a second rereading, that its complexity will be better revealed to the enlightened reader, and its dark history and plot twists better illuminated.

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The library’s new popular book order came in over the weekend.
There are almost a dozen books that were on my list that have arrived.
These are the four I am taking home:
Intuition - Allegra Goodman
A Spot of Bother - Mark Haddon (looks like a fast read)
The Emperor’s Children - Claire Messud (if I hate this, it came come right back)
Consider the Lobster - David Foster Wallace (I can hang onto this and dip into it over the next few weeks, one essay at a time)

It pains me to leave behind Lost and Eat, Love, Pray and What Came Before He Shot Her and The Inheritance of Loss and Special Topics in Calamity Physics but it also makes me happy to know they will be there waiting for me when I need another good book to read.

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Gina is reading The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf which is the third time in as many weeks that I have encountered the title. I just requested it from the library, along with The Echo Maker.

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Thanks to Lazy Cow (and I mean that sincerely, rather than my usual, “Oh, great, now I have eleventy gazillion *more* books to read, thanks, LC!”), I am currently enjoying The Heart of Darkness, delivered in installments (42 total) to my email inbox each morning. DailyLit is the greatest idea! I plan on “reading” Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle next.

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Yesterday evening when I went to B&N to exchange my journal, I was waiting in the cash register line and overheard the woman in front of me bemoaning to the clerk (a woman I know by sight, with whom I share reading tastes) the lack of any decent books. They agreed that Water for Elephants was wonderful, and mentioned that Chris Bohjalian has a new book in advance-reader copies. Since I had just spent forty-five minutes wandering the story mentally piling up purchases, I couldn’t help myself but spoke up and asked if she’d read Broken for You. The clerk peremptorily called the back of the store and made them bring her a copy, which the woman promptly purchased, and thereafter followed a lovely fifteen minutes with two simpatico readers, comparing notes and books and want-to-reads. It was as refreshing to my soul as I imagine a church service is to more spiritually-inclined people.

13 comments:

ssheers said...

My neighbor recommended "History of Love" a while back. I'll have to move it farther up towards the top of the pile.

delta said...

I cannot even begin to tell you how it warms the cockles of my heart every time someone recommends Broken for You to someone else! I read that book as an advanced reader's copy while working in a small independent bookstore and LOVED it!!!! Totally, completely loved it! I cannot even begin to tell you how many copies of that book I handsold over the next two years. I continue to push it on people, even now. Hell, I even used it in a job interview! Am eagerly awaiting Kallos's next novel, which I think is due out later this year.

daysgoby said...

Please let us know what you think of Consider the Lobster - am waiting for this to come in to our library and debating just buying it....

Katy said...

Darn you and your Daily Lit link! I am enamoured of the idea and will be signing up tonight. Got any favorites that I should start with? There are so many choices that its overwhelming.

--Deb said...

I LOVED "History of Love" and have so far read it twice--both times having read the entire last third with a smile on my face that got bigger and bigger.... I really enjoyed "Broken for You," too. It made my "favorites" list for 2005--I read it on New Year's Day, and my only regret was that I couldn't include it on my 2004 Favorites list, I was so eager to tell people about it.

Oh, and I just found your blog today--I think I'll definitely be back!

www.chappysmom.typepad.com

Lazy cow said...

I'm always recommending books to people in bookstores, it's one of the pleasures of life to find book-lovers. And you are definitely top of the list BB!
You captured what I liked about History of Love exactly. There was a lot unresolved but it was satisfying nonetheless. Have you read her other book Man walks into a room? (or something like that).

Badger said...

Holy cow, I think Daily Lit could be my new crack. What a great idea!

Gina said...

daysgoby, I own Consider the Lobster and I LOVE IT. David Foster Wallace is my secret boyfriend, so take my recommendation with a grain of salt, but the essays in the book are so smart and funny that they just blow me away.

Liz said...

I recently finished A Spot of Bother and The Jungle is one of my favorites. I'll have to add History of Love to my list, since you liked it so much.

Sounds like a lovely bookstore experience. A guy in Borders once berated me when I offered reading advice, and it wasn't even unsolicited.

jess said...

Sigh...I suppose I'll have to put History of Love back on my to-read list, under the category 'couldn't get into it the first time but trustworthy people say it's worth finishing.' I read a couple chapters and just didn't CARE. I think I might've felt differently if I hadn't known who her husband is (which makes it sound like I don't like his books - I LOVE his books. The fact just got in the way, though.)

daysgoby said...

Thanks Gina!

I have a Chapters gift card burning a hole in my pocket - think it may be time to go buy a book!

And now I'm loving From A Girls Point Of View - DailyLit - what a great idea!

Sarah Louise said...

Oh how I miss talking about books!! It's sort of not the same handing a clueless dad a copy of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle as comparing notes on the latest good read with a contemporary.

I'll have to look into that DailyLit thing...

teachergirl said...

Have you read The Dogs of Babel? I am in the middle and it is, by far, one of the most bizarre books I have ever encountered. I had a friend read it and recommend it, but the craziest thing I heard was a B&N clerk tell other people that it haunted her for months and she bought 6 copies for her best friends. Don't know if I dare finish something that haunted the clerk for months. Have you read it?