Whatcha Reading? Wednesday


I continue to read Bill Bryson's The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way. It's interesting, but I don't know that I'd recommend it to anyone but language geeks. And it's not "laugh 'til you cry funny" the way some of his other books are.

At the same time, I'm doing something that I had largely quit doing. I'm alternating the Bryson book with Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. This one is our book club book for the month. I read it several years ago, so this is a re-read for me. Since it is a collection of short stories, it is easy to stick in one story at the end of the day, without being tempted to stay up too late.

Well, that's the theory anyhow.

Lahiri won the Pulitzer Prize for this, her first book. I wonder what that feels like--to have that kind of success immediately. It must be an immense pressure while you are writing your second book. I'm afraid I'd be like Harper Lee, and only write one.

The stories are mostly about immigrants from India (or Pakistan) and the places where they bump up against the differences between the old culture and the one they now find themselves living in. What is most often missing is the intense sense of community in India. The young people in America think that they will be happier leaving all that behind. But when tragedy or loneliness strikes, they are left adrift. Lahiri doesn't sugarcoat Indian life. But she is excellent, I think, in pointing out that even when you leave a place for better opportunity, there is a price to be paid for the change.

Though short stories are almost never my choice for reading, these are good. But they are almost all sad. If you read them, be warned.

Next on the pile? Brother Odd by Dean Koontz, probably, unless the spirit moves me a different way. I've dropped my reading lists for the time being.

Hope you're reading something good!

Happy Wednesday, ya'll!



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This page contains a single entry by MamaT published on April 9, 2008 6:30 AM.

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