Saturday, April 18, 2015

Marilynne Robinson, Lila

Marilynne Robinson, Lila. I cried throughout this book. I react to her the way I've always felt about Dostoevsky. Certain questions pull me. I don't answer them the same way. I don't think they can be answered.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Kate Atkinson, Life after Life

Kate Atkinson, Life after Life. Exactly like the title.

Andy Weir, The Martian

Andy Weir, The Martian. Yes, I've been listening to Science Friday. Really fun in a Robinson Crusoe + Apollo 13 way. Think I'm going to read it out loud or just give it to my child that just sent NASA some spacesuit designs.

Monday, April 06, 2015

David Grann, The Lost City of Z

David Grann, The Lost City of ZThe last chapter was the most interesting, and I'd love to read more about the current archaeological research in the amazon basin rather than the egotistical explorations of the last century. Still, the book was worth the read for three things: 1) the diary excerpts about insects, 2) the mention of espundia (mucocutaneous leishmaniasis), and 3) this description: "Fawcett, wearing gabardine breeches, leather boots, a Stetson, and a silk scarf wrapped around his neck—his standard explorer’s uniform-".

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

Jane Austen, Mansfield Park. So, I haven't grown into Austen. I hate every single fucking useless person in this book.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Jenny Ofill, Dept. of Speculation

Jenny Ofill, Dept. of Speculation. Eh. I could really not care about marriage novels. And I'm sick of "having a child destroys female artist" stories. Liked the term "art monster", though. She should have done it. Been an art monster. A parent who does what they love, even obsessively, even if that takes away time, is a better parent than a depressed and resentful parent hovering constantly and non-functionally. And the kid would be better off for a bit of benign neglect.  Love your kids. Keep them alive. They'll be fine. (Reaction got personal, I guess.)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven

Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven. This is a pretty solid example of the post-apocalyptic genre. I think it's always interesting to imagine living in the ruins of civilization. It is also a lovely novel in its own right, a little dreamy story spooling out in a satisfying sequence. I like books that scoff at probability; where every person who ever happens to interact is connected by some far-fetched set of circumstances. Probably brain damage caused by too much Dickens in childhood.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah. Ifemelu, the protagonist is sharp as sharp, funny. An article on The Toast compared it to Pride and Prejudice; I wouldn't make that comparison, but then, her dry observation of academic liberal social interactions made me cringe as much as a genteel regular ball-goer of Regency England would wince at Austen's observations. At any rate, it's a love story and illumination of the experience of race in America as a Black immigrant. But it's Ifemelu and her dryly cutting, hopeful, amused voice that's engrossing and impossible to forget.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Joe Abercrombie, Half a King

Joe Abercrombie, Half a King. The classic good younger brother story. Second son of a king inherits throne though he has training in books not war -yet he must avenge his father's death and his own betrayal. Standard but solid, clearly for production of a fantasy series.