No, I haven’t stopped reading. I have, however, started a new job. So, my life has been work. And sleep. And only now am I able to bring blogging back into the mix. Oh yeah, and reading, but that’s really in the category of eating and pooping – Things I Do Because if I Didn’t, I Would Not Biologically Be Able To Survive. I am lucky in that my job provides some structured reading time (that would be nap-time for the kiddos) and some unstructured moments when the kids veg out with Bob the Builder and I veg out with a book.
So, I have read quite a bit the past week or so. And to be a total jerk, I’m going to dump it all here. Perhaps eventually I will be a better blogger, but for now, I kind of suck.
The Forgery of Venus by Michael Gruber: I read this as soon as I got back from Portugal, but with the umpteen hundred other vacations I took this summer (honestly, I needed to start a new 50hr/wk job to recover from my vacations) and starting a job, blogging about it hasn’t happened yet. I really liked The Book of Air and Shadows by Gruber, and I picked this one up at South Station for the train ride back from Boston to PVD since I had finished my book on the flight from Madrid and I can not survive without a book. Seriously. It is honestly problematic that I am not only a voracious reader, but I’m a very fast reader as well. (No, I don’t skim, I just have mad speed reading skills.) I can finish a 400pg. novel in six hours. Eight if it’s particularly dense. Forgery of Venus took me approximately four and a half, considering I was more than half done with it by the time I got home an hour and change later. I wouldn’t really classify it as a “thriller,” though it certainly moves at a fast clip. For a “mass-market” book, I underlined an overwhelming amount of this book as it is one of the most accurate and insightful books about art that I’ve ever read. Truly, Gruber gets what it is to struggle as a visual artist. Really well done. Two thumbs up.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini: Awesome book, but man, this is like the Feel Bad Book of the Year. I don’t think it is actually possible for this book to be any more depressing. There’s a certain kind of Murphy’s Law quality to it: Is it possible for one more awful thing to happen? Yes? Well, it totally will. A lot of this book felt eye-rollingly formulaic to me: there’s becoming a trend in Describing Life in A Muslim Country to Westerners novels (yeah, there are a bunch of these) where the women have unfulfilling lives except for this one secret light of sexy sex, and that one night which has all sorts of “electricity” and other stupid metaphors, forms a central part of the plot. Maybe it’s just reading this on the heels of The Roses of Tehran, which has a similar kind of issue makes me kind of jaded, but do we really have to do this? We’ve got barely two dimensional women set up to educate us Westerners about how Things Are Different, can we at least get more than one dimension in the plot? For all of my whining, I did like and would recommend this book, but only if you’ve got plenty of vodka or Prozac on hand. Or both.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: Ah yes, YA lit about death. This is a genre unto itself that I am loving. I don’t really like typical YA lit all that much, but I do like death. I really loved The Book Thief and this is also a fast favorite. I think if you like one of these two, you’ll like the other. They’re very similar in feel without being the same at all in terms of voice or plot. I’ll admit it that I’m developing a real boner for Neil Gaiman. I unabashedly love everything I’ve read that he’s ever written. I’m re-reading Anansi Boys now and it feels just as awesome as the first time. The man has got some serious skill: smart novels that feel lighter than they really are. His work is not fluff, but it reads quickly and I find myself holding back giggles should I be reading in a public place. Great stuff.