Over the past week or so, I've been reading up a storm. Here's a summary/review of the books I've finished or am in the process of reading:
Juliet, Naked takes us back to the Nick Hornby of High Fidelity. It's the story of an aging rock star who's dropped out of sight, and the small group of obsessed fans who gather via an online forum to discuss his music, lyrics, sightings, and other miscellanea. In particular, it tells the story of his biggest fan and the fan's girlfriend, their pilgrimage to the US to see the highlights of the rock star's career, and the fallout from that vacation. You can pretty much tell where the story is going, but it's a fun ride. Hornsby has an enjoyable style, and this was another great story.
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession (Allison Bartlett Hoover) is the true story of a fraudster who, in order to build a world-class book collection, steals credit card numbers and purchases books from dealers. An intriguing look at the psychology of this individual who stole to be part of an elite group of collectors.
The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag (Alan Bradley) is the second Flavia de Luce mystery, following Bradley's wildly successful The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. De Luce is one of the most interesting fictional detectives, an 11-year-old girl with a love of chemistry. While not quite as successful as his first novel, this was a fun read and I look forward to more of her adventures.
The Other Family (Joanna Trollope) I love, love, love Joanna Trollope. I've read most of her books, and this is another piece of good storytelling. Chrissie, mother of three daughters and long-time partner and manager of their father, a musician, faces financial and emotional difficulties when her common-law husband dies, bringing his wife and son from this first (and only) marriage into their lives.
So Much for That (Lionel Shriver) I've read a number of Ms. Shriver's books and this recent one is an excoriating look at the health care in the US. The novel tells the story of a family facing the terminal illness of one of it's members, and how they elect to live out the last days. Very enjoyable listen (consumed this via audiobook) from the author of We Need to Talk About Kevin and The Post-Birthday World (also highly recommended).
American Wife (Curtis Sittenfeld) I'm currently listening to this fascinating novel by Sittenfeld, an author who is new to me. It is the "autobiography" of a First Lady and includes events that bear a remarkable similarity to those in Laura Bush's life. Sittenfeld captures the inner life of women with cunning accuracy, and I am enjoying this book very much.
Cosmas, or the Love of God (Pierre de Calan) Am about halfway through this. An apparently very accurate portrayal of a young man discerning his vocation with and order of monks, written by a French bank executive who had no personal experience of this life. It part of the Loyola Classics series, and a quick little read.
Solar (Ian McEwen) Just started this one, so I don't have much to say. Yet!
In the pile:
- Beth Powning The Sea Captain's Wife - I've seen this book everywhere and read a good review.
- Nicholas Dickner Nikolski - The 2010 Canada Reads winner
- John Banville The Infinities - Interaction between the family of a dying mathematician and the ancient world of Greek gods. Well-reviewed. Haven't read anything by Banville yet.
- Andrew Solomon The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression - Heard a couple of commentators on CBC referring to this as a must-read for those struggling with depression
- Tish Cohen The Inside Out Girl - A young adult novel by the author of Town House which I loved.
- Deon Mayer Dead at Daybreak - Another thriller by this South African author. I recently read Blood Safari and liked it so much I thought I'd try another!