Friday, April 13

Bibliophile [March Reads]


Let me tell you, some good books were read in March. (Refer to my earlier post on this series here, if you need to see how my literary preferences line up with yours). Here's my round up.

Winter's Bone (Daniel Woodrell)

Since I'd already read the Hunger Games and had a date set to see the movie, I needed to get a Jennifer-Lawrence-esque fix elsewhere. So I read this. I never saw the movie, but I recall the Oscar buzz around it, and I think movies-based-on-books are usually based on good books. Setting consisted of rural patriarchal poverty in the Ozarks, lots of family drama, loyalty issues, etc. I kinda enjoyed this short read, though I prefer a novel with a clearly progressive ending (a la Glass Castle). It's a little stark, so don't expect a feel-good beginning, middle, or end with this one.

The Sense of an Ending (Julian Barnes)

This was an excellent book. Another short one, so it only took me a few days to complete (and I would have finished it even sooner if I didn't need to pause to eat/sleep/work). It was hard to put down, but breaks were necessary to take full advantage- it was very psychologically and emotionally deep. The author refers often to Camus' conviction that suicide is the only true philosophical question- as in, is your life worth living, or not? Is life a gift we accept, or reject? The plot is simple, which allows the bigger questions to shine. A good deal of the novel focuses on memory- what is its purpose, how accurate is it, and has our "tragic hero" simply cut and pasted the parts of his history that add up to a self he can live with? A beautiful quote- "And it ought to be obvious to us that time doesn't act as a fixative, rather a solvent". The further we get from an event the more blurry it becomes, and we try to fill in our failing memory with how we wish things had gone...tres interessant, non? The whole thing was a bit somber and perhaps even ominous, be warned. Aside from content, the prose was elegant and the story was well-paced. A+ for this one- I'm looking forward to reading more of Barnes' work.

The Widower's Tale (Julia Glass)

Such a great novel! I really cared about her characters, understood them, helped them rationalize their sometimes dumb decisions and sympathized with them once those decisions erupted. We're best buddies now. Though I was caught up in their family angst (though not that unique as far as families go), everything was resolved in a deeply satisfying end. One thing confused me- the first half of the novel is all from our narrator's perspective. Suddenly, chapters start being from the point of view of other characters- it seems like this idea was a little late in the game, and these other characters had their own issues (eco-terrorism, gay rights, health care, immigration)... it felt like a smorgasbord of random hot-topic issues. Still a good read.

Traitor's Wife (Susan Higginbotham)

Ughhhh don't even bother. Took seriously half the month to get through, it was so fing long and was one big soap opera of historical fiction. The protagonist was annoying, ignorant, and innocent to the point of idiocy.

When You Reach Me (Rebecca Stead)

This book was so FUN! The plot surrounds a sixth-grader and the dramas of her life, which include mysterious letters and notes that seem to come from the future. If you've read A Wrinkle In Time, this book borrows heavily. Our little narrator has a hilarious and age-appropriate interior monologue, which had me laughing and rooting her on. Again, I finished this one in a day or two, pretty short. Very imaginative.

April has already seen some good reads, and some questionable reads. Any recommendations for me??

No comments:

Post a Comment

how you like dem apples?