Sunday, April 01, 2012

Books read in March

The Marriage Plot. Jeffrey Eugenides
I'm a little sad this didn't have a better showing in the Tournament of Books since I loved it from start to finish. Eugenides doesn't need a live rooster at this point in his career, though, and I am terribly happy that THE WESTERN ultimately took home the prize. Same as Teresa, I l found Madeleine very true to life and think she got a bum rap in the discussion. I should get around to Middlesex sooner rather than later, shouldn't I?

Searching for Caleb. Anne Tyler (reread)
Outside a few books from childhood, I've probably internalized more from this, my first Tyler, from way back in '79, than any other. I know many people who don't like Caleb, including a few who ordinarily count themselves as Tyler fans, but this one never lets me down. I'm rather scandalized that it had been 14 years since the last start-to-finish read, but then, I'd promised myself to read it back-to-back with One Hundred Years of Solitude so that I could conclude whether Caleb was consciously modeled on it, and that will make a person hesitate. Oh well, self, I lied, but I promise I'll reread Garcia Marquez one of these days.

And I am going to go on the record as saying yes, I realize I'm still cutting Duncan way more slack than he deserves. He's my bad boy and I'll always love him. So there.

The Sense of an Ending. Julian Barnes.
Why have I never read Barnes before? Wish this had done a little better in the TOB as well.

The Middle Ground. Margaret Drabble
I read this back in '82 when I was working my way through every Drabble I could get my hands on. I don't know that I'd recommend this as a starter Drabble, definitely not if the reader requires an actual plot to keep her turning the pages, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

Cora Glynn. Peter Cameron
I really like the way Cameron continually defied my expectations. I'd think I knew where he was heading, then the compass needle would whirl.

Arcadia. Lauren Groff
Loved this, even the section that takes place in the future that others don't enjoy. I need to go back and read Groff's earlier books.

The Hunger Games. Suzanne Collins
First Wendy asked me the day the movie came out if I'd read the book. Then, no matter where I turned online that day, it was all #hungergames #allthetime. And it was only $5 for the Kindle. Read it in a day. Not opposed to reading the sequels.

Chronic City. Jonathan Lethem
This book cracked. me. up. Usually when I say I found something funny I mean I LOL'ed inside my head. Chronic City gave me a genuine outside-my-own-confines can't-stop-once-I-get-going laughing fit, one that had S. saying, "What?! What?!" and L. ignoring me with all his might (he works from home; he was on the phone) out of fear he might make my fit last even longer.

My Mortal Enemy. Willa Cather
A reread for the Slaves.

How We Got Insipid. Jonathan Lethem
A couple of short stories, one a science fictional They Shoot Horses, Don't They? kind of thing, and the other, a surreal fantasy with a grown-up but still sweatshirt-and-sneakers-wearing Harriet M. Welch as the main character.

Worth noting that Chronic City contains a minor character named Harriet Welk.


  1. Anonymous5:48 PM

    Can't say I loved Marriage Plot, but I too was delighted with the ToB winner. The Sense of an Ending deserved much better, especially (to me, anyway) compared to Open City, which lasted much longer. Arcadia is a book I deeply loved, even the last section.

  2. The Marriage Plot and Sense of the Ending were the only rooster contenders I've read, and I would have liked to have seen them both go further because I loved them both. Then again, since I haven't read the others, I can't say they didn't deserve to do just as well. And I have been wanting to read Sisters Brothers, so I was pleased to see it win.

    I've avoided reading the Hunger Games, but the movie does look really good. And I know if I see the movie and like it, I'll have a hard time stopping myself from reading the other books.

  3. Too bad The Sense of an Ending couldn't make a comeback in the zombie round. I do intend to get around to Open City, which sounds like something I would like, except for the Sebald comparison. I didn't expect it to do as well as it did in the TOB. But since I'm now spoiled for the ending, I'm wondering if I should wait awhile in hopes I'll forget what the big reveal's supposed to be. :)

    Amy, I'm glad you loved the last section of Arcadia, same as me! What a great book.

    Teresa, I always root for the westerns on the rare occasions they're up for recognition since even the people who claim they read everything usually will then qualify their claim with an "except westerns" tag. The Sisters Brothers definitely has broad appeal even to those who aren't predisposed to such, and I'm hoping it will make the entire genre a little more interesting to those who would previously not have given it a chance.

  4. An excellent month of reading! Now you have me wanting to read Chronic City because I want to know what was so funny! :)

  5. I may now be the only blogger who hasn't read The Hunger Games!


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