Thursday, July 22, 2010

E. O. Wilson, Anthill

E. O. Wilson, Anthill. Loved, LOVED the parts about the ants. The early story about Raff Cody falling in love with the longleaf pine forest was lovely, and the view of academia as a very specialized colony was fabulous. However, sadly, the end of the book had a clumsy and perfunctory Grisham-style thriller tacked on. And it wasn't very thrilling or even interesting (and so lacked the only redeeming quality of a real legal thriller). It seemed like a creative writing exercise where you're asked to re-create a certain style and you use a web template. This was especially disappointing, because Wilson can write so beautifully. It's like a lovely book was growing and it suddenly acquired a fifth useless leg mid-development. And I wanted more ants. So I suppose that after clinical rotations I'll stop putting off reading The Ants.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak, The Book Thief. Leisel is a foster child in a small town in the outskirts of Munich during World War II. She first becomes a book thief when she finds The Grave Digger's Handbook at her little brother's funeral. Despite the frequent tragedy, the book is funny, original, and emotionally convincing (it's easy to set a tragedy in that time and place, but it isn't easy to be genuine and tell a story that any child or adult can identify with). I loved Leisel and her friends and family; and I loved her discovery of words and the word use in the book itself.

P. D. James, The Private Patient

P. D. James, The Private Patient. One of her usual tight and intricate mysteries. I'm not really an Adam Dagleish fan. He's too perfect; a grown-up's fantasy - I mean, really, a tall, handsome, reserved, and distantly wounded critically acclaimed poet wedded to his work who comes WITH the perfect London flat? And unlike another ridiculously perfect British detective, he is never funny or silly or entertaining or close to human. I always enjoy reading her books, though, because they are like her detective: a little distant, a little chilly, but technically impeccable. This one, set in a private plastic surgery clinic at a lovely old manor house, was no different, and had lovely little plot twists in a nice tight frame.