Saturday, April 18, 2015
Tuesday, April 07, 2015
Monday, April 06, 2015
David Grann, The Lost City of Z. The 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
Thursday, March 05, 2015
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. 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. 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. 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.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Monday, January 05, 2015
Lorrie Moore, Anagrams. Extraordinary. Absolutely fucking comic and engrossing and worthwhile. Benna is a character with so much imagination, so much character, so much more everything - her voice is half-monologue, half dialogue, alternately and concurrently understated and hyperbolic, dryly witty and broad slapstick. Tragedy that was so funny I had trouble breathing and read bits out loud to myself to laugh again. Seriously considered starting over at the beginning when I got to the end.