Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Forty Books and Counting

How about you? I just finished my 40th book for the new year which means that I'm averaging 10 a month. Now, you might ask, am I retaining anything? Perhaps not but I'm enjoying them while I'm reading them and that's what counts, right? Just like my customers I'm always asking, "why do all the good ones have to come at once?"

I finished the new Per Petterson that I got from Library Journal in record time. I was happily surprised by it and discovered that he wrote it in 1992 but that it's just now been translated from the Norwegian for U.S. readers. Often I've found his work to be very despairing.

Not despairing but certainly angry is Paul Theroux's The Lower River, a semi-autobiographical novel about an idealistic young man who goes to Africa, Malawi to be exact, to teach English for the Peace Corps. His time there was eye opening and rewarding, but his life running the dreary family business back in Massachusetts is anything but. When his marriage falls apart, Ellis believes that returning to Malawi will be just the ticket. Read more in the April 15th edition of Library Journal:

Next week I'm hosting a book discussion of the much praised Tea Obreht debut novel The Tiger's Wife. It's not the type of book I generally read but I took it on at the request of one of our most well-read and respected discussion participants. The joke's on me. She hasn't come this year!! I'm struggling with it and feel like such a philistine. Barbara Hoffert, my editor at Library Journal, told me that she found it breathtaking. It is imaginative but I fear that I'm missing something and hate it when I do that. I'll let you know how it goes and what I learn from my deep readers.

One book that I thankfully DID jump on the band wagon for was last year's Swamplandia!, by another debut writer, Karen Russell. In case you didn't know it, her novel was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize! In fact, there's much hand wringing and controversy around the fact that the Pulitzer committee refused to choose among the three finalists recommended by the esteemed panel of judges (which included one of my favorites, Maureen Corrigan from NPR). The Pale King by David Foster Wallace and Train Dreams by Denis Johnson were the other contenders. I wouldn't dream of tackling DFW but the Johnson novella was already on my "to read" list.

When I'm not with Nadia and the tiger's wife I'm also reading a book that Harper Collins sent to me without my even asking! Heft by Liz Moore is a striking, sophisticated novel with a plot you don't see every day. And THAT'S saying something! I'll write more about it after I finish it. I've also gotten The Cove, The Variations, A Land More Kind Than Home, and The Good Thief's Guide to Venice. So what's in your "to read" pile?


TooManyBooks said...

I'm on my 43rd book...

Sallyb said...

You over achiever you!