Sunday, September 22, 2013

Another week in reading: Sunday Salon Sept. 22, 2013

Reading: Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life got me thinking about my son at 8 or 9 and how together we watched Quantum Leap. Dr. Sam Beckett, the brilliant quantum physicist working in time travel experiments, would leap backwards through time and discover himself in strange clothes in a strange place at a moment in history. He took over someone else’s identity on some challenge to change that moment, “to put right what went wrong.” He would have to do this with an imperfect memory not quite knowing how his actions might impact events – but of course in the end, he always prevented some grave injustice or near tragedy.
Atkinson’s Ursula Todd has a similar fate. Similar but not the same. In Life After Life, Ursula gets to redo the events of her life by restarting and making changes at pivotal points, but she has little or no control of the consequences. She also has only vague past memory. So far, she also is always herself, a key theme. I’m enjoying this book.
            Met up: Went to my first “meet-up” with other readers. Ate  and talked about Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.  I don’t think I would have read this book were in not for the Gaiman gush of some my favorite bloggers. My reaction to this book? Oh my, what a brilliant spill of story telling that I suspect was as unwieldy to write as it was to read. Not a perfect book, but an interesting one.  One long road trip through the American landscape. I liked the little eddies of side stories best. Will write a bit more about it later.
        Many at the meet-up either did not finish or did not care for the book. One Gaiman fan said she likes several of his other books better. Enjoyed the fellowship of other  local readers.


  1. I've only read a few Gaiman. American Gods was about in the middle for me too. Not perfect, like you said, but still interesting. I started with Good Omens, which he wrote with Terry Pratchett, which I loved, and then Neverwhere, which I also loved. Then...well, from there, they haven't been as good, but still good.

  2. I've never read Gaiman - not sure he is my cup of tea though.....

  3. Bryan and Karen,
    I am glad to have read Gaiman though I'm not sure I will do it again. He is fascinating -- raised in a part Jewish, part Scientologist family in England, he started in comic books. American Gods is kind of what you might expect from that -- fascinated with belief and with fantasy.