7 Books and Counting

Yes, I am still reading.  A few quick notes on some of the books:

Recent Publications

9780062469687_p0_v1_s192x300  The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler

If there is an opposite to chick lit, this is it.  A story about men, boys, Boy Scouts, coming of age, growing old – all men, but focused on a few – Wilbur, the Scout Master, who saves Nelson, the upright nerd, and Jonathan, an older boy who wavers between being the cool dude he wants to be and the righteous man of goodwill he tries not to be. A good story across generations with friendship among men as the angle.    And the author has the hallowed credential of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

 Unknown-4  Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

So – is Ingrid, the mother, still alive?  Did she find the courage to swim away from her philandering husband who betrayed her with her best friend?  Did she leave the old coot English professor who used her secret fantasies to finally write his best seller?  Did she start a new life or end a desperate one? You decide.

Classics I Finally Got Around to:

Unknown-1  Remembering Laughter by Wallace Stegner

Reading Wallace Stegner’s first novel – Remembering Laughter – reminded me of how great an author he is.  The poignant story of two women continuing to live together after the younger one has an affair and gets pregnant with her sister’s husband.  Though short, the story had the same impact on me as his famous Crossing to Safety.  If you have never read Stegner, this is a good place to start.   If you know him, the reissue of his first book is a gift.

0031398233688_p0_v1_s192x300   Unknown-2 Genius and Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe

In the movie “Genius” with Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, the editor Maxwell Perkins gleans the best from Thomas Wolfe’s manuscripts to produce the first two of his lengthy novels.  Jude Law plays the writer, Thomas Wolfe, but his contemporaries are just as fascinating – a clever F. Scott Fitzgerald moping over his wife’s debilitating depression and his subsequent inability to write, and Ernest Hemingway, gloriously manly as he is about to go off to war.  Maxwell Perkins was editor to them all.  I had read Ftizgerald and Hemingway, but never Thomas Wolfe and Perkins was a stranger to me.   Inspired by the movie, I am reading Look Homeward Angel with a long introduction by Maxwell Perkins.  Only ten pages into the 508 of the story, I am convinced Wolfe is the genius portrayed.

 

Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell

Poor Mrs. Bridge – she lived in her insular world, not knowing or caring to know what happened around her.  Republished in paperback to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, Connell’s depiction of a privileged white woman in the nineteen thirties has notes of women in the fifties, but sadly, her plight could be applied to some women today.  Written in short paragraphs and chapters, Mrs. Bridge slowly evolves but never really grows.  Pathetic in her ignorance, she protects herself from the world, sometimes wondering about issues she is never curious enough to pursue – lest they disturb her bubble.  Of course she is sad and unfulfilled, yet she never realizes she could do something about her life – why would she?

Now Reading

Unknown-5   The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes

9780385316576_p0_v2_s192x300   Follow Your Heart by Susanna Tamaro

 

 

 

Advertisements

Taking a Short Break

I’ve decided to take a little time off from reviewing books to focus on a few unfinished projects.  I’ll still be reading voraciously and thinking about how each book changes my outlook.

To start the month of April, I am looking forward to reading:

9781101870730_p0_v1_s192x300 Autumn by Ali Smith (I listened to this on the plane, but I need to see it in print – so many nuances, I want to digest Smith’s words slowly).

9780679735908_p0_v1_s118x184Possession by A.S. Byatt (my friendly librarian gave me the movie version and now I am anxious to see how it compares to the novel by this Man Booker winner).

9781609453855_p0_v2_s192x300Ties by Domenico Starnone, translated from the Italian by Jhumpa Lahiri (I just started reading this and am already under Lahiri’s spell of luxurious language).

9781941040515_p0_v1_s118x184Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (a pick of one of my book discussion groups).

9781616206901_p0_v2_s192x300The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth Church (another book club pick).

9780385350907_p0_v2_s118x184The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve (her newest novel to be published April 18th.

I hope to restart the discussion of books with you here again next month.