Thursday, December 13, 2007

"...the fastest college-level reader will read, at best, twice as fast as the slowest college-level reader." *

I feel like I have been reading and reading and reading, but I suppose not really. I have only finished a few books in the past two weeks. Which is odd for me. However…

In no particular order, books I have been reading:

Outside In – Courtney Thorne-Smith. Yes, she of the dazzling white teeth and manly jaw. I was a devotee of “Melrose Place” AND “Ally McBeal.” (I am almost too ashamed to reveal this, but H and I once had a gigantic, screaming, howling (on my part) fight because he FORGOT TO TAPE ALLY MCBEAL FOR ME WHILE I WAS AT WORK. I know. Call the domestic abuse hotline! What can I say, I was a child bride in many regards.) Anyhoo – C T-S has written a novel about – surprise, surprise – a television actress. And you know what? It’s GOOD. Good as in, I stayed up way too late last night because I was really caught up in the story, good. She can actually write. She has an endearingly self-deprecating sense of humor, and a finely tuned sense of the ridiculous. I laughed out loud many times. I liked her sympathetic characters, hated the villains, and enjoyed the story.

Terra Incognita - Sara Wheeler. Entertaining, in a weirdly fragmented personal way, but also chockfull of bits of Antarctic history, biography, exploration, and geography.

Man Walks Into a Room - Nicole Krauss. Remember how much I loved History of Love, once I finally got into it? I love this book, too. Krauss is such an elegant writer. You want to savor each page. It begins with vaguely the same sort of premise as the mind-numbingly dull Echo Maker: man loses his memory…but under Krauss’ deft hand, you begin to understand how the main character begins to view this as a blessing, and you can’t wait to see what he does with his newfound freedom. How many of us haven’t at some point or another thought, “What if I just drove off and became someone else? Left everything behind and started over?’ Well, this book lets you explore that possibility (without having to suffer the brain tumor that afflicts the protagonist). I am not finished it yet, but if it really disappoints in the end, I’ll let you know. Somehow I don’t think I’m in any danger.

Mr Golightley’s Holiday - Salley Vickers. Suse turned me onto Vickers, and I am eternally grateful. Her books are just a little odd, and sort of hippie-dippie metaphysical, but also so true to life, so viscerally empathetic. This one has a twist that the flap copy of my edition totally gave away, so don’t read ANY reviews or the flap copy if you want to read this and get the whole experience. I enjoyed it despite my knowledge of the twist. And now I can say no more.

The Winter Rose - Jennifer Donnelly. Somehow I wound up with a review copy of A Northern Light’s author’s second novel. It’s a big, fat, sprawling epic which I don’t want to put down.

Mommies Who Drink - Brett Paesel. Did I forget to tell you guys about this book? Gina recommended it to me, and it was everything the sadly disappointing Confessions of a Slacker Mom was NOT. Paesel is hilarious, and even though I was never so wild that I snorted cocaine off naked men in the back of limos (I am not sure Paesel was either, honestly), I still could totally relate to her funny, somewhat bittersweet, and honest book about how much your life changes post-child.

Letters from Father Christmas - JRR Tolkien. One of you Aussie types turned me on to this, and I ordered it after last holiday season, so…I just now pulled it out. ‘Tis the season and all…it’s a fun book. The illustrations are amazing and charming and I am thoroughly enjoying myself. I can’t read it when the boys are around, however, since they still believe in Santa (of course) and so I can’t risk Primo reading it.

Books I have purchased:

Terror by Dan Simmons (to add to my always entertaining Ant/Arctic collection), Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett (although I found Autobiography of a Face (the book written by Lucy Grealy, whose complex and at times difficult friendship Patchett discusses in T&B) whiny, self-absorbed, and disappointing), and…I was sure there were more…maybe not. I bought Primo a couple of books for his birthday, so maybe that’s what threw me…oh, and George Carlin’s When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? for H for Christmas (but I am hoping to read it before I give it to him.)

Books I have given up on:

Mr Dixon Disappears - Ian Sansom. I wanted to finish this, but I just found Israel tiresome and pathetic (and not in the endearing way of the first book), and the plot line completely unbelievable, and so I stopped.

Books sitting in the TBR pile:

Restless - William Boyd, and Origin - Diana Abu-Jaber.

And damn that Lazy Cow, now I have to go request some MORE books from the library!


from "The 1,000-Word Dash" by Timothy Noah, Slate magazine


lazy cow said...

Damn you too, Ms Babelbabe. I want to read EVERYTHING you have just read (apart from maybe the Antarctic book). I'm just finishing off a few books I've had lying around neglected, which feels great!
I HATED Isreal in the first Ian Samson mystery and gave up after a chapter.

Suse said...

There I was wondering why you hadn't answered my query re Ann Patchett (and it's unlike you not to reply to a book related question) and there you go, mentioning it in your very next post.

Your comment however, makes those who don't know better, assume that Patchett wrote Autobiography of a Face, which of course she didn't.

And it may have been me who recommended the glorious Tolkien Letters from Father Christmas book. Oh to have been one of Tolkien's children eh? Sigh ...

Velma said...

God, you are exhausting me, woman! Do you read like 500,000words a minute or something? I swear to God, I thought *I* was a fast reader, but not only are you reading these - you are writing coherent, informative reviews that make me want to read (or pass on) yet more books. Damn you!

Sarah Louise said...

what is this "Blogger Velma" and "Blogger Suse" and LC too? (You have to see this--in the comments. I'm partially commenting just to see if it will do it to moi as well.)

Glad you're getting your Antartic fix.

Maybe I'll have to find the CTS book. I really need humor right now.

Suse said...

Blogger Suse says thankyou for the clarification.