Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010 Reads

Currently Reading: Under the Dome by Stephen King
This is my first Stephen King novel! Everyone knows him to be the "King" of horror, but he's also penned non-scary novels like Hearts in Atlantis and The Green Mile. I would never permit myself to read one of his horror novels (my curiosity is too strong to indulge it); especially since I truly think there's a touch of evil about this guy. However, when I learned that he'd released a sci-fi, I was intrigued.
This novel has been brewing in his mind since the 70s, but it wasn't until November 2009 that King published this sci-fi novel molded around a small town in his home state of Maine.
I won't tell you anything you won't learn on the back cover, but the story is about how, inexplicably, a small town becomes isolated by a dome. The dome itself is invisible, so no one sees it when it appears, but they immediately witness the horrific effects of its presence: a woodchuck is suddenly severed in half, a plane flying innocently through the sky crashes into thin air, a woman's hand is amputated as she's gardening when the dome suddenly encloses the community.
The town is faced with more than just the immediate disasters though as food, energy, and water all become quickly diminishing resources and the community is forced to look to each other for survival.

It is a genuinely thrilling plot to me, but continue to be thrilled by the plot but I am disappointed to find that King is actually a much trashier writer than I thought. He could be great, but he opts to be publishable as he dirties up the story with a graphic domestic abuse incident, and overtly sexual/perverted asides. It remains to be seen if the plot is worth mucking through these parts of the story. If things don't turn around soon, I will desist reading the book; for now, I'm wondering if his purpose for making these people so unlikeable is b/c he plans to kill them off later...that would at least make sense. Will let you know if I finish it or not.

Just finished reading: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
It's worth the time it takes to get through this brick of a book. The end is a little drawn out, but all in all, Rand had given us a dazzling novel in The Fountainhead. I haven't read anything this original in a very long time, if ever. Her philosophy is realized in her protagonist, Howard Roarke, who will forever stand out as one of the greats in modern literature. There's much more I could say about the novel, but suffice it to say that I enjoyed it without agreeing with its overarching philosophy. Read it and you'll see what I mean.
(Also, it's really a quite easy read; don't let its size intimidate you. It has good momentum and it's well written without being too lofty.)

Also Reading:
Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller
Have much to go yet, so far as I can tell, it's an extension of Blue Like Jazz, which is just fine with me.
Possession by A.S. Bryatt
I'd read her short story collection, Little Black Book of Stories, which were totally quirky and not exactly enjoyable, more experiential. However, Possession is shaping up to be a wonderfully cerebral, high-brow literary mystery/romance that waxes poetic, but in good ways (one will find a variety of yummy little poems and short stories sprinkled throughout the novel that all lend to the richness of the real, ongoing plot). So far I really like it, it was hard to get into and it takes more mental investment than some of the other things I'm reading, but it's worth the effort so far (about one quarter into the book, it's long: 576 pages).
Still Reading: Julie and Julia I'll get through it, but it's somewhat overrated in my mind.
Forever Reading: The God Delusion I just have to sit down and do it. I am so unused to nonfiction that I've just made getting through this book harder for myself. New year's resolution: read more nonfiction...but read T.G.D. first. I owe it to a good friend and to myself as a way to evaluate and validate my beliefs.

No comments: