Sunday, July 08, 2007

I'm behind again, as usual. Back at the end of June I read the utterly delightful The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy. It's about a young woman, recently out of college, spending a couple of years in Paris meeting artists and actors and having all sorts of adventures. It was funny and charming and made me laugh out loud in public more than once. One culprit: "The waiters at the Select comported themselves with that slightly theatrical mixture of charm, complicity and contempt that one would expect from servants in Hell." In fact, I could open to just about any page and some line on there would make me smile. The narrator, Sally Jay, is self aware enough to know that she's occasionally ridiculous, but confident enough not let that slow her down. I loved her and the book and I'm going to have to buy a copy for myself.

After that I read another Post Secret book, The Secret lives of Men and Women by Frank Warren. I somehow can't pass these by when I see them downstairs on display.

Daisy requested a half year roundup, so I totaled up the books I've read so far this year and found I'm going to have to step up my reading if I even want to break 100. I read 45 books in the first six months of this year. 30 of those were fiction and 15 were nonfiction. There were 5 YA novels, 1 book of short stores, and 1 book of nonfiction essays. Most of them were very good, but seven of them stand out as the best (in the order I read them):
Half Of A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Zero by Jess Walter
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Children's Hospital by Chris Adrian
Icelander by Dustin Long
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy

Last week I read Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton, which is about a man who experiences a sort of schizophrenia where he has "dead" moods where a sort of alternate personality takes over. This person wants to kill the woman he loves obsessively in his regular life. And once you meet her, you almost want him to. She's manipulative and cruel, and he almost gets away from her influence a couple of times. It becomes a kind of race - can he keep himself away long enough to lose all interest in her, stay sober, and not lose time, or will his other side kill her. I didn't love the book, but I found it interesting and it did gain momentum as it went on.

Then yesterday I holed up in my room with The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, which is based on a fairy tale I don't think I've read. I find that odd because I read every single one I could get my hands on multiple times for a couple of years when I was a kid and I can't imagine missing this one. Maybe I just forgot it. Anyway. It's about a princess sent by her mother to make a political marriage with a neighboring country. Along the way her guard mutinies and her lady in waiting takes her place, forcing her to flee into the woods. She makes her way to the city and bides her time as the King's goose girl until she can make her move and claim her rightful place.

Today I read The Polysyllabic Spree and Housekeeping Vs. The Dirt by Nick Hornby, the two collections of his ongoing column in The Believer. Everyone else has already picked these to death and I found myself agreeing with their opinions (of course you should stop reading a book you hate, but some reward a slog through; he has a weird view of literary fiction; I hate that he can't tell us what books he hated or gave up on, etc.). There were some nice bits on the comfort of having lots of unread books around and the inability to stop buying them and I took note of a couple of titles that I want to read.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?