On the Last Episode of The Evening Reader…

Wow! Has it really been almost three weeks since my last post? Sometimes I seem to go through a phase where I am reading, but I simply don’t want to stop and collect my thoughts long enough to talk about one book in particular. This is a problem if one is trying to keep a book blog.

On the last episode–er, in the last post, I talked about Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty. I decided not to continue with that trilogy and move on to something else instead. First, I tries Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls, for which I had tremendous expectations. Tremendous expectations can be a real killer, but then so can passages like this:

I need to run, to fly, beating my wings so hard I can’t hear anything over the pounding of my heart. Rain, rain, rain, drowning me. [Cue bongo players. Feel free to snap your applause.–ed.]

The snow drifts into our zombie mouths crawling with grease and curses and tobacco flakes and cavities and boyfriend/girlfriend juice [don’t think about that one too hard–ed.], the stain of lies.

Oh no. The stain of lies! Really? Oh dear. No. Far too melodramatic for me, I am afraid. The other thing that bothered me about this one was this cute little typography trick: “My stepmother Jennifer…” When a book’s quirks get under my skin like that right away, the best thing for me to do is put the book down and back away slowly, before anyone gets hurt. This book is safely back in the possession of Fulton County. I only got through about 20 pages, so I don’t consider it DNF–it’s more like I skimmed through it to see if at any point I could go on. I know this author is extremely popular with the YA crowd…perhaps another one of her books would fare better? Speak, maybe?

Ah, but my disappointment in Wintergirls was erased by the next three books: Asterios Polyp (my first graphic novel–whee!), which I will give a proper review soon; Too Much Happiness, which was so very good (duh…it’s Alice Munro) and which I plan to buy, but which I also returned to the library before I could review it; and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which I read for book club and which I also returned to the library before I could write about it. I will tell you quickly that Absolutely True Diary made me laugh out loud and also almost cry at some points (from sadness, not from laughter), and it is such a wonderful book I will wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone I know.

From there, on Steph’s recommendation, I moved on to The Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery (she of Anne of Green Gables fame), which I had to get through ILL as they did not have a copy in Fulton County to speak of. Hrm. I read it rather quickly and then–guess what?–returned it to the library. I have no passages to share, but I will say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have seen it compared to Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle (which is a favorite of mine, to be honest), and I can see that it has the same sensibility of a girl (or a woman) who longs for more than her immediate world offers. Montgomery offers up some serious wit, and I laughed out loud more than once. She also has such wonderful descriptions of the scenery around the lakes in Ontario (where the book is set) that, well, it made me want to go to there. You can click the link above to read Steph’s review, and you can read Nymeth’s review here. I know I am not doing it justice, but that’s what happens when one tears through a book like an order of fries.

After that, I picked up Derek Raymond’s How the Dead Live. I still have this one so I’ll give it a proper review later. I am also still working my way through The Children’s Book. I am enjoying it thoroughly, but I keep losing my momentum because, well, I keep checking out books from the library. I cannot seem to stop, even though I am surrounded by piles of unread books that I actually own. You’ve all heard that sad song before, so I won’t sing it again.

So now I am trying to finish The Children’s Book, and I have also started The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Oliver Sacks’s Uncle Tungsten for my book club. March should be as busy a reading month as February, but hopefully I’ll do a better job with the reviews.

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6 comments

  1. So glad to hear you enjoyed The Blue Castle! I know what you mean about sometimes just not feeling like writing about what you’ve been reading; sometimes it’s definitely a push for me to type something up, but I somehow always manage to find the motivation to do it! But it’s definitely much more rewarding and fun to blog when you’re inspired and in the right mood.

  2. Yay for The Blue Castle! Have you read Jane of Lantern Hill? It’s another of LM Montgomery’s standalones, one of my favorites.

    Do give Laurie Halse Anderson another try! I didn’t much care for Wintergirls myself, but Speak is very good, and she did a book called Chains about a slave girl during the American Revolution that is both well-written and thought-provoking.

  3. Steph, I really did enjoy it. I especially enjoyed how witty it was!

    Jenny, I have heard good things about Chains as well. I will try both of them and see…I will also see if I can find the other Montgomery novel. Thanks for recommending!

  4. I loved The Blue Castle! I also read it recently on Steph’s urging and it was exactly the kind of book I needed.

    I haven’t read Wintergirls, but I did think Speak was wonderful.

  5. Nymeth, I am definitely planning to try another of Anderson’s books–I’ve read too many good things about her to give up just because one did not suit me. 🙂

  6. I’m like you, sometimes, in that I just want to read and not try to put together something worth saying about what I’ve read.

    I think I’d like The Blue Castle. I love Montgomery’s books, but I’ve never heard of this one.

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