Friday, September 22, 2006

Recent Reading

Some of the books I've read in the last couple of months:

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark – It's quite a feat, this book, and the fake historical footnotes are genius, but they and the somewhat mannered tone grow tiresome. I do not believe this book needed to be so very long. Recognizing author intelligence is not enough to stop me from sighing "Oh Shut UP already" during certain passages.

The Brothers Bulger by Howie Carr – This is a really, truly frightening book detailing the degree of inside deals and mob-like connections of countless well-known names in Massachusetts politics, FBI, Irish and Italian mobs, and more. Carr is not one of my favorite pundits but the book is fascinating and permanently disturbing.

The Not So Big House by Sarah Susanka – Non-fiction, an architecture book about creating livable-sized houses that feel warm and inspirational with soul instead of overly big empty mcmansions with rooms rarely used. I walked by an architect in Cambridge who was moving one day and offered me a bunch of art supplies and books, including this one.

Martha Peake by Patrick McGrath – This book is a nice gothic dark and dreary day read, but it seemed to really lose its fire a bit once Martha went West. It was nice to combine reading about its anatomical museum with a trip to the Warren Anatomical Museum in Boston.

Grub by Anna Lappe and Bryant Terry – Daughter of the Diet for a Small Planet woman gets radical about what to eat. It's a little reactionary, but the facts are facts in it. I didn't bother with the recipes as I'm okay in that department.

Dishing Up Maine by Brooke Dojny – I understand Maine cooking, maybe from having come from a long line of it. This book made me very happy. I got it out of the library after reading a review in the Globe, but may purchase it. It's full of the little tips I would ask my mom if she were still alive, like I know a good lobster or crab salad has very little in it so as not to mask the sweet meat, but just how much lemon juice would you add, mom?

My Latest Greivance by Elinor Lipman – A good one for a young adult. An entertaining fast read about a super liberal family living at a boarding school.

Crawling at Night by Nani Power – I enjoyed this short book a lot. It's a tapestry of flashbacks that tell a story. I thought the end was structured stupidly though – a woman's alcoholic downfall is related in terms of a very odd interpretation of the 12 Steps that looks more like a teenager's poking fun at AA than anything interesting.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami – This is an odd book. I appreciated its oddness, but wasn't sure I was catching all the philosophical themes from it that I might were I Japanese. I was avidly turning pages until I got bogged down in details about the war, which I think I was missing the point of. Everyone was sort of excused for everything along the way.

Kissing the Virgin's Mouth by Donna Gershten – This one is written by a non-Mexican and the narrator is Mexican. It was a fast fiery read, but sometimes it struck me as just a little fake sounding but I couldn't pinpoint why.



At 9:42 AM, Anonymous Ken said...


I'm listening to "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" on audiobook right now(and it's huge! Something like 30 CDs), and I clearly see where you're coming from. But I think it may actually come across better on audio. Passages that would be really boring to read sounds somewhat Pythonesque (is that a word?) on audio. While listening to it, I had the feeling that I'd fall asleep if I had to read it in print, but I'm enjoying listening to it so far.


Post a Comment

<< Home