Quick Thoughts—on books

lay-of-landI’ve plowed through a pile of books lately and thought it would be fun to share some thoughts with you.

The Lay of the Land (Richard Ford): This book spends 600 pages following a middle-aged guy through 3 days of his life.  The math’s easy. . .200 pages per day and not much happens.  But I adore this book.  The writing is simply brilliant: funny, wry, and filled with provocative, even life-altering insights.

The Sign for Drowning
(Rachel Stolzman):  a beautiful, slender signs-of-drowningnovel about the Deaf commnity, written with elegance and compassion.  I loved it, especially because it’s a debut novel!

ten-year-nap-blogThe Ten Year Nap (Meg Wolitzer):  Right from the opening paragraph, you know you’re in good hands.  Here's how she writes about the morning sounds waking women up all over the country: 

There were wind chimes and roaring surf, and the electronic approximation of birdsong and other gentle animal noises. All of it accompanied the passage of time, sliding forward in liquid crystal. Almost everything in these women’s homes required a plug.  

That last line is priceless—funny and knowing. The women in this novel are all plugged in and nowhere to go.

Winter in Madrid (C.J. Sansom): a huge best-seller coming from Britain.madrid-blog  I had high hopes. . . but it’s melodramatic to the max.  Things like “tears pricked” (his eyes, or at the corners of his eyes) get used 4 times within the first 60-some pages.  In fact, lots of tears get shed by lots of characters.  Also, this:  She…ran the comb through her thick auburn hair.  It flowed in waves.” Or this:  “Her heart was starting to thump with excitement.”  Okay, truthfully, it gets better.  Still, where’s Graham Green when you need him. . .or Robert Ludlum?

known-world-blogThe Known World
(Edward P. Jones):  I’m late coming to this powerful book, about slavery, especially African Americans who owned slaves.  Morally complex and wonderfully written. Jones won the Pulitzer in 2004.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (David Wroblewski):  You’ve got to love dogs and Hamlet, and I do.   Dense, digressive (especially about the genetics of dog breeding), brooding and, yes, tragic (it is, after all, a retelling ofedgar_sawetelle-blog Hamlet).  But this is a gorgeous, satisfying read.  I love this book.  So does Oprah (we’re so much a like).

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