Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Last of the Summer Reading

How it's already the middle of August I'm sure I don't know. I feel like I just got out my summer dresses, just found warm-weather recipes I wanted to try, and just got around to buying sunscreen and already it's nearly September. But I'm not complaining. Unused to the summer heat of Nebraska after living in San Diego for the last two years, I am prepared to welcome fall with open arms.

What I read on vacation:

One Day was a good book, a big one, but a good one. Someone who reviewed the book ont he back cover said it best, "it's the best weird love story since The Time Traveler's Wife." And while The Time Traveler's Wife made a good book and a bad movie, I have a hunch that the opposite is true for One Day which is slated to star Anne Hathaway as the frumpyish love interest, Emma, of the swarthy Dex (Dexter). What sets the book aside is its formatting which, at worst can be called gimicky, at best is a refreshing take on your typical love story. The novel spans a couple of decades but takes place on a single date—15 July, St Swithin's Day, destined to be the anniversary of several key events in the lives of the two principals. So every July 15 we revisit the couple from 1988 to 2005 and witness what happens to them.
Often sad and sometimes anxiety-inducing, overall this book delivered but I would suggest you hold out for the movie before you commit to the 400+ pages.

Currently Finishing:
I have about 25 pages left in Searching for God Knows What, Donald Miller's follow up to his raging success, Blue Like Jazz. Not nearly as good as Blue Like Jazz, Miller still takes the reader on a not-too-uptight journey of Christian philosophy and in his usual comforting way breaks down intimidating parts about being a Christian without taking away from the majesty of God (which makes him comparable to C.S. Lewis in my mind). Much less organized than Blue Like Jazz's lovely topical apologetic prose, I found this book less engrossing but still definitely worthwhile. Commendable job, Mr. Miller; I will be reading your newest release as soon as I get the chance, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

Currently Reading:

I've taken on the beast: Anna Karenina. A book club through Grace Chapel is going to review the book in September (they take the summer off and, thus, chose a book bigger than a cinder block) and I didn't want to miss my chance to discuss the heavy read (literally and figuratively) with fellow church goers and book lovers. I've almost completed part one of eight (Russian authors have no reserve—thank you Tolstoy). So far I must admit that it's dense and delightful at the same time. Will keep you posted on this (eternal) process.

Also reading A Separate Peace by John Knowles as I assigned it to my Edgy Bookworms reading group. I was looking for a classic under 200 pages and found this and so far it's wonderful. It's such a seemingly simple story with such big, philosophical implications. What I LOVE about this book is that the author will deliver an emotional blow very subtley and he doesn't, in a literary sense, elbow you in the ribs as if to ask "Did you see what I did there? Did you get it?" and give away his subplot. It's a wonderfully humble way of telling the story and puts confidence in the audience culminating in appreciation from the reader as well as a sense of accomplishment that the meaning was not lost on him/her.

That's all! I've started The Billionaire's Vinegar but won't be finishing any time soon now that Anna K. and I are hanging out. Happy reading!


tiffany said...

And she's back! My entire office (Lindsay is starting today) has circulated my copy of Little Bee and loved it. Keep up the reviews.

I recently purchased Anna K. at a library book sale. I think it looks more impressive on the shelf than in my brain. :) Also, I heart A Separate Peace. I read it in high school and actually ended up reading most of it out-loud to Brittany who got hooked when I read her one section. Now that's a good book!

G said...

I also read A Separate Peace in high school. I remember much of the content... I think, but what I remember most is walking away morose and unsettled. I think, probably, my sense of justice was gravely injured. It is the same with The Chocolate War.