Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I'm Alive- Part Deux

I meant to add what books I've read a few days ago, but I took this drug called Charlie Sheen and my face melted off and children have been weeping over my exploded body for the last few days. Oh man, what a kook. Actually I've just been too busy at work to do this, but today is a bit slow.

Okay, here are the books I've read in the past month or so. I found out about these books on Powell's Books website, They were all listed in the staff recomendations. So, I'm basically going to just add the description of the book from the website and add my own couple of comments.

Freedom- Jonathan Franzen- "In Freedom, Jonathan Franzen bulldozes through the facade of the progressive, modern American family. His characters are intelligent, analytical, selfish, needy and full of regret. They comme off as unlikable, but are instead complex, realistic people choking on their freedom; each earns our sympathy as they actively poison themselves and the ones they love. Franzen's writing is intimately elaborate, offers astute observations, and, in its entirety, amounts to a tremendous achievement--clouded in gloom, but ultimately shining with hope." -- I first learned of the author, Jonathan Franzen, when Emily gave me his book "The Corrections" a few years ago. I loved that book and his writing style. Turns out he was good friends with the author David Foster Wallace, whom Cat and I are so fond of. Franzen creates great characters and great, dysfunctional families. The only negative comment I would have about "Freedom" is the pages and pages of detail about mining and rebuilding soil and mountain tops and things like that. If you can get through that, it is a great read. Cat, have you read any of his stuff?

Great House-Nicole Krauss-- "For twenty-five years, a reclusive American novelist has been writing at the desk she inherited from a young Chilean poet who disappeared at the hand of Pinochet's secret police; one day a girl claiming to be the poet's daughter arrives to take it away, sending the writer's life reeling. Across the ocean, in the leafy suburbs of London, a man caring for his dying wife discovers, among her papers, a lock of hair that unravels a terrible secret. In Jerusalem, an antiquies dealer slowly reassembles his father's study, plundered by the Nazi's in Budapest in 1944. Connecting these stories is a desk of many drawers that exerts a power over those who possess it or have given it away. As the narrators of Great House make their confessions, the desk takes on more and more meaning, and comes finally to stand for all that has been taken from them, and all that binds them to what has disappeared."--This book was pretty good. The best thing about this book is the writing. Nicole Krauss is a good writer, she is good at telling stories, even if the story isn't all that interesting. I found myself reading on more because I liked her writing more than I liked the story itself. I could see what she was trying to do with connecting the desk with the different narrators, but it just didn't work to well. It wasn't terrible or anything like that. It's certainly not a bad read, I give it a "meh".

Promise Not To Tell- Jennifer McMahon- "Forty-one-yearold school nurse Kate Cypher has returned home to rural Vermont to care for her mother who's afflicted with Alzheimer's. On the night she arrives, a young girl is murdered--a horrific crime that eerily mirrors another from Kate's childhood. Three decades earlier, her dirt-poor friend Del--shunnded and derided by classmates as "Potato Girl"--was brutally slain. Del's killer was never found, while the victim has since achieved immortality in local legends and ghost stories. now, as the new murder investigation draws kate irresistibly in, her past and present collide in terrifying, unexpected ways. Because nothing is quite what it seems.....and the grim specters of her youth are far from forgotten."--I really liked this book through most of it. Kind of an interesting murder investigation type book with ghosts. I like a good ghost story. But, when it got to the ghosty parts, they were kind of hokey. It's another "meh".

The Eyre Affair- Jasper Fforde- "Great Britain circa 1985: time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. Baconians are trying to convince the world that Francis Bacon really wrote Shakespeare, there are riots between the Surrealists and Impressionists, and thousands of men are named John Milton, an homage to the real Milton and a very confusing situation for the police. Amidst all this, Acheron Hades, Third Most Wanted man in the World, steals the original manuscript of "Martin Chuzzlewit" and kills a minor character, who then disappears from every volume of the novel ever printed! But that's just a prelude.

Hades' real target is the beloved Jane Eyer, and it's not long before he plucks her from the pages of Bronte's novel. Enter Thursday Next. She's the Special Operative's renowned literary detective, and she drives a Porsche. With the help of her uncle Mycroft's Prose Portal, Thursday enters the novel to rescue Jane Eyre from this heinous act of literary homicide. It's tricky business, all these interlopers running about Thornfield and deceptions run rampant as their paths cross with Jane, Rochester, and Miss Fairfax. Can Thursday save Jane Eyre and the Bronte's masterpiece? And what of the Crimean War? Will it ever end? And what about hose annoying black holes that pop up now and then, sucking things into time-space voids."--I loved this book! The idea is so great. People can enter actual novels, well, only the original manuscript, and become part of the book! The author is from London, and he has that silly, British humor. The names he gives characters are the best. There is a guy named Braxton Hicks and another named Jack Schitt. Hahahaha! I think it's pretty funny that the novel is set in 1985, and yet, it is futuristic. It's one of those books you just have to accept what is happening and enjoy the ride. It's kind of like a Kurt Vonnegut book. It's fun when Thursday is at Thornfield, especially if you are a fan of Jane Eyre. I'm really glad there are a few books in this series. I am currently about 20 pages into the second one.

The Vanished Man- Jeffrey Deaver- "Imagine a killer who's a cross between Hannibal lecter and David Copperfield. Yes, really. I didn't discover Deaver until I read "The Vanished Man", now I'm a major fan. It's a top-notch thriller--and you'll never again watch a magic show quite the same way"--This book was pretty good. I do like the mystery crime fighting books. The main character is Lincolm Rhyme, he is a quadriplegic crime fighter. There are quite a few books featuring him. Dad and Emily? Have you guys read any of the Lincoln Rhyme books?

So, those are the books I read while I was sick. I'm really glad I discovered that Eyre Affair book. As I mentioned, I'm about 20 pages into the second book of the series, "Lost in a Good Book" I think there are 5 or 6 books in the series.


Emily said...

A few books there that I'm going to have to check out. I'll for sure check out that Eyre one. Sounds interestingly trippy.
In answer to your question, I am almost positive that dad is a devoted Deaver reader and I have read I think three in the series which happens to include The Vanishing Man (I've also read: The Bone Collector and Devil's Teardrop). They are good, but for some reason, I forget to read them. I'd like to start with book one (I may have already done that, I think it's TBC) and read them in order.

Your post reminds me of something Amy and I just talked about doing and I forgot to do a post about---

one will be coming right up.......

Cat said...

Yeah, Sue. I enjoyed 'The Corrections' very much. Thanks for the suggestions.

Pops said...

Yeah, I have read all of Deavers books. I thought his other novels(not of the Lincoln Rhyme series) were the best, but liked them all.

Pops said...

Glad to have you back Sue. I just got finished talking to Susie on the phone and have her family business understood. I am happy they are in a house they can afford and she is healthy and Cam is working and things seem better with them. Waytogo, Sue and Cam. Sometimes life throws us sliding curve balls we just can't hit. Things seem to work out with patience and time and determination.

Emily said...

Finished the Eyre Affair and I really enjoyed it! Thanks for the recommendation Sue! I am currently about 4 chapters into The Passage and I am hooked.

Sue said...

Glad you liked the Eyre Affair! I thought it was a fun read. I read the second one, "Lost in a Good Book" I liked that one too. I'll read the third one soon.

I'm so excited you started reading The Passage! I'm glad you like it so far. Can't wait to discuss it!