Whatcha Reading? Wednesday

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Just finished off Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants. Thought it was well written, and had an interesting setting--the train circuses of the 1920's and 30's. Because that is a rough era and place, the book is correspondingly harsh. But I didn't take it to be very gratuitous in its violence or its focus on the circus. I had feared that it would focus too much on the "freaks", in a voyeuristic way, but it didn't.

But it says something that the character that I most identified with was an elephant. I thought the back stories of the characters were generally not very believable. And the ending? I liked it, but I didn't buy it.

The author does have a talent for describing old age, though. Her words rung very true with a lot of the things my mom told me about aging.

Worth a look, I think. Just not my favorite.

Spiritual reading? I'm still working my way though Tortured for Christ. Harrowing, uplifting, amazing.

Next on the agenda? Two books sitting on the nightstand: Vespers in Vienna by Bruce Marshall (author of The World, the Flesh and Father Smith, which I read last year) and Not Buying It by Judith Levine. It didn't get very good reviews on Amazon, but I am intrigued by her quest - to buy nothing but necessities (as she defines them) for a year.

How 'bout you?


Paul Mariani's Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Life
(wonderful book but rather intense...certainly no beach read...if I would dare to venture to the beach in this miserable hot weather...), Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury for remediation and David Sedaris's Barrel Fever
(not especially edifying, but very funny)

still scarfing down as much dean koontz as is humanly possible. right now i'm bolting through VELOCITY.

as for WATER ... good LAWD, mamaT, how different can our tastes in books POSSIBLY be? i lurved this book and even spent a small fortune on the coffee table photo anthology of early twentieth century circus performers that inspired the writing of water for elephants. of course, i was reading it in the midst of my dad's losing battle with dementia, so it may have been more poignant simply because of my life circumstances. regardless, i adored the characters -- even the icky ones -- and actually put it in my "to read again" pile. hmm....

it's going on my library list ! we shall see !

I would have bet my diminished 401K money that Water.. would have been on your favorites list. As soon as I finished it, I thought, "Now there's a book that's Micki's cup o' tea." Seriously.

You are drawn to the dark and sad, girl. While I love the sad books (one of my favorites is Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance and that's unrelievedly sad and tragic), it has to be beyond excellent for me to think it is a favorite.

I see the power of Water. I think she's a good writer. But it didn't hang together for me. I thought the ending was too "neat" in a way. And not the ending ending (which I thought wildly implausible) but the ending of his story with Marlena. For something that has been gritty, to turn it on a dime to a happy job with RB then a vet's job, etc, etc, etc? 12 horses, an elephant and an orangutan? Really? Hmmmmmmmm.

It's one thing to have those things happen in a Charles Dickens novel, where we haven't tried to be so hyper-realistic in the beginning. But after the dirt and mud and violence and paralysis and murder and insanity? Can't handle the turn. A happy ending? You bet. A fantastically, wildly exuberantly happy ending? Nope.



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This page contains a single entry by MamaT published on June 24, 2009 9:13 AM.

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