Monday, October 24, 2011

Mildly interesting...

So it has been a while. Because I was reading a very long, slow book.

I didn't dislike Born in Exile. Really, I didn't. At times I found it to be very dated. And at other times I found the commentary woven through about church vs. science and evolution to be a little tiresome. But I thought it was a really nice commentary on society in the mid to late 19th century. I particularly liked how well some of the ironies were crafted. The characters all were rather believable and I liked them. I liked Peak for all his faults. I could see why Buckland and Sidwell each acted as they did. It was definitely fairly interesting.

So I guess I feel mildly about this one. I'm not exceedingly disappointed that it's done, but it was OK!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The unfairness of it all...

I recently finished listening to The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, and it was a downer. Newland Archer sped up his engagement and wedding in order to quell feelings he had for his fiancee's cousin, but to no avail. He was still in love with her to the very end, at which point he was old and sad and couldn't even bring himself to go visit her. The cousin, Ellen, was persona non grata because she had left her husband but couldn't divorce lest it shame the family. It was, in short, a book about obligations vs. desires. I enjoyed the book very much, but it left me feeling sort of bummed. Luckily, things are a little better these days in terms of marrying outside one's class or race, but there is still a lingering stigma.


Looking for a book to help me sleep.

First of all, I would like to say that i really dislike pregnancy insomnia. Usually I can sleep just fine. Not lately. However, being up this late did allow me to finally finish The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera. This book has been annoying me for about a week and I am glad to be through with it.

It doesn't seem to be a novel at all. Rather, it is this collection of stories and recollections. Some are in the first person and some are clearly fiction. They mostly deal with the struggle of the Czech people throughout recent history. And also sex. It all seemed so random and disjointed to me.

Unfortunately though, as tough as this material was to slog through, it didn't help me get to sleep!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Couldn't put down the Book of Illusions!

Paul Auster's The Book of Illusions was published in 2002. I am so surprised that I had not heard of it or read it before now. This book is fantastic. It is a wonderful layering of stories, a Vermont literature professor, a 1920s silent film star, and a mysterious young woman. I could not put it down. (That's usually the test for me - some books I just read so quickly because they are so interesting I have to keep reading and reading to find out what happens!)

This story hinges on the mysterious disappearance of this silent film star. The author is able to really show us America back in the 1920s as well as in the present day - I'm telling you, this book is so. good.