Sunday, May 5, 2013

Literary Interlude (or lack thereof)

I read a couple of interesting books recently so I thought I should put something up here so it looks like I'm still around (not really, I am swamped at work and spending all my spare time in the garden while the weather has been so nice).

Rebecca - yes, I know it's a classic and I needed to get around to it, but it made me think of reading The Scarlet Letter in that unsympathetic, I-can't-always-escape-my-modern-perspective way. As in the "Why the hell didn't she do something to change her situation, what a wimp" perspective. Hugely evocative writing and excellently creepy  to read, Mrs. Danvers is a hell of a character, as is Rebecca herself, but the de Winters (Mr. and the second Mrs.) are just so hard to identify with or sympathize with as a general rule. So, I'm glad I read it and now I think I've filled my Du Maurier quota for a while. But I do wish the movie was in color so I could see the epic descriptions of the house and grounds with all the lush, blooming flowers done justice.

Gone Girl - after all the hype I was curious and the library had it for Kindle (this is fancy, I can check it out from my laptop and then it shows up on my Kindle and disappears again in three weeks. No overdue book fees!), so I gave it a shot. It is definitely well written, characters keep seeming sympathetic and then changing, and the back-and-forth switching perspectives between husband and wife works really well (something that doesn't always work if the writer isn't up to it). But in the end, it was just kind of horrible. Miserable people and misery triumphing in the end. The much-vaunted twist at the end was something I never expected and was very well written, but I can't say I will be seeking out more of the author's work. I flat-out asked somebody if it was like the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo because I don't like reading so descriptively about torture and violence, and they said no, but I'm not 100% sure that was accurate. It is a different kind of torture, for sure, but it still was something I couldn't read at bedtime without worrying about it giving me nightmares.

I think I just had a run of a lot of miserable and highly unsympathetic characters all in a row. Thus the palate cleanser:

Three Men in a Boat - this is incredibly silly and quotable. It's like Wilde-lite and I love the language. I need more stuff like this for a while I think.

"How good one feels when one is full - how satisfied with ourselves and the world! People who had tried it, tell me that a clear conscience makes you very happy and contented; but a full stomach does the business quite as well, and is cheaper, and more easily obtained. One feels so forgiving and generous after a substantial and well-digested meal - so noble-minded, so kindly-hearted."

Next up is Monuments Men, which it looks like I need to read before the George Clooney version hits theaters. It was one of my mom's book club books which can be hit or miss, but this is the intellectual book club and she really liked it so I am looking forward to it.

What are you all reading out there in Blogville?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow. Thanks for the update. I was considering reading Gone Girl.. now I'm not so sure..

I'm reading The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic by Dan Ariely. It's quite entertaining. I love me some social economics!


Miss ya!