Sunday, January 12, 2014

Mid-January Sunday Salon: Still working on resolutions; reading in the meantime

I'm behind. It may take me all of January to think about where I want to take my reading and writing this year.
That’s okay.
In the meantime, I posted a reading response (not a review, it’s full of spoilers) of Mary Kay Zuravleff’s Man Alive! It’s an interesting book about a family nearing the cusp of having the college-age fledglings leave the home nest when lightning strikes.  Dad gets zapped and this upper middle class family starts to unravel.  Set in a contemporary D.C. suburb, the book is fast-paced and witty.

            I also took a long trip during which I listened to John Boyne’s The Absolutist, a haunting novel of homosexual love and conscientious objection among troops during World War I. This novel was recommended by a friend – and it’s one I likely would not normally be drawn to.  I’m glad I read it. The descriptions of courage, cruelty and war will stay with me a long time.
Next, looking backwards through January, I read Maria Semple’s Where Did You Go Bernadette?  It’s a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading, but liked less and less the more I thought about it. Reading it felt like going to a party and being dazzled by a witty, snarky, entertaining host.   Reflecting on it felt like waking to discover   I disliked and discarded the careless, glib performance that just didn't add up. I’m a little resentful I was so taken in by this trifle of a book.
On New Year's Day, I finished Donna Finch's, The Goldfinch, which had the reverse effect of Bernadette.  I was never quite sure what I felt as I read this book even as it propelled and fascinated me. Yet, The Goldfinch grew on me the more I thought about it. Loved the Boris character. Loved the ending. 
Finally I have begun Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries. For me this is a slow-going tough read. There are so many characters, so many threads. As a Kindle newbie, I am less adept at reading such a book on a device. I want to be able to flip back through pages – particularly to the character list.  Also I am missing the many astrological charts that apparently appear in the hardcover book – but not on the e-book. So I am finding myself frustrated and wish I had purchased the hardcover.  I’m reserving judgment until book’s end.
Sunday Salon is a Facebook page where book bloggers meet. 



8 comments:

  1. I saw another blogger who recently wasn't enamored with Where'd You Go Bernadette? either. I don't know. Myself? I liked it and thought it was funny, but maybe it just caught me at the right time. If I went back and read it today, maybe I wouldn't get it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was very taken with it as I read it. Too much thinking on my part.

      Delete
  2. Looks like some good reading!

    I've had to accept that I can only handle short, fun books in the e-book format. Long complicated ones don't work at all well for me. But I really do love having a book on my phone -- it just has to be one that I'm willing to read in 5-minute or less increments when I'm standing in line at the grocery store or sitting in a waiting room.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm learning the hard way I guess. Different books, different formats. I listen to books on my Kindle -- through Audible too and I am only willing to listen to those that are straightforward and easy.

      Delete
  3. You have completed some fabulous reading in the first two weeks of the new year!

    I have resolved to set more time aside each week to read... I have missed it these past few years.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have more time than most right now -- and still some days I spend too much time on the internet and not enough in my books.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You are brave to take on The Luminaries. I'm a bit daunted by the looks of it. I need to read The Goldfinch too. I know I will like that one. Good luck getting thru the big Catton book.

    ReplyDelete