update: Books I have read/bought/been given recentlyApril 18, 2007
Around a month ago, I wrote this post about books I wanted to read. So I figured I should do an update on my literary pursuits:
The Girls by Lori Lansens was in my list of books to read and wow am I ever glad I did. A fascinating premise: conjoined twins who live to adulthood and then write their autobiographies. I knew the book was going to be great when I read the opening paragraph:
“I have never looked into my sister’s eyes. I have never bathed alone. I have never stood in the grass at night and raised my arms to a beguiling moon. I’ve never used an airplane bathroom. Or worn a hat. Or been kissed like that. I’ve never driven a car. Or slept through the night. Never a private talk. Or solo walk. I’ve never climbed a tree. Or faded into a crowd. So many things I’ve never done, but oh, how I’ve been loved. And, if such things were to be, I’d live a thousand lives as me, to be loved so exponentially.”
If you aren’t hooked now, I don’t know what your problem is 🙂
I also read The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde which was recommended to me countless times (mainly by one Glick family, cough, cough). This was a delightful book to read, combining the literary world, time travel, a detective named Thursday Next and alternate British history. So obviously this is a great read and I also ended up checking all of its sequels out of the library and am currently reading Something Rotten.
Oh I should also thank the older brother Tim for this one, because I think it was Charletta and him who got me this book for Christmas.
Today I just finished the young adult book Peeps by Scott Westerfeld, which essentially recasts the vampire story in terms of a parasitical disease. Essentially, vampires aren’t really the blood thirsty immortal types portrayed in countless books and films, but instead humans carrying a parasite that controls their brains. First off this book is incredibly fast paced and a lot of fun, I found myself getting quite caught up in it and I can understand why Westerfeld is becoming such a popular young adult writer. Plus any book that intersperses its chapters with true stories of the real parasites in our world, has to be a winner.
While in Seattle, visiting the lovely Meryl and Katie, I was able to do a little catch-up reading and so I also read The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. In the space of one year, Didion experienced the sudden extreme illness and hospitalization of her only daughter, followed a few days later by the sudden death of her husband of 40 years. The book is her raw recount of her time spent coming out of and dealing with the insanity that grief causes. Beautiful, terse and sad, Didion’s writing is quite amazing and I really loved this book. I think in some ways I am one of those people who spend good portions of their lives wondering what I would do if something unspeakable happened to me. When I was younger this involved me spending hours working through various what-ifs based on my parents sudden death or the destruction of our home, or some other horrible thing. Maybe reading books like this is a way for me to prepare myself for the tragedies I hope so much to avoid.
My last book for this post is one that I actually read quite a while ago, last fall I believe, but the reason it is included in this list is that it was given to me today. I have been becoming friends with one of the more regular subs at our high school, we often get lunch together when she is there for the day. Anyways she loves to buy books and doesn’t always get around to reading/loving every book that she buys. So today she gave me 3 of her rejects. Despite that, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak came highly recommended and that is the way I will pass it on to you. A beautiful book about an ordinary German village (that happens to take place during World War II), a young orphan who steals books to teach herself to read and narrated by the character of Death, this book will wow you. I have to admit it took my a little bit to get into the book, but quickly I began to really care about each of the characters and even though the inevitability of that time period grinds closer, you find yourself hoping for a different kind of ending. Zusak is also fascinating in how he began writing novels at a young age and remains a young writer considering his levels of success.
So get out there and read a good book (and then of course come back here and tell me about it).