Recent Reads

Well, it’s been 6 months since I posted what I’m reading or have just read, so thought I’d share that with you this week.  As I’ve said before, don’t expect reviews here.  Just gut reactions over my recent reads.

  • Best book I’ve read lately:  11/22/63, Stephen King.  I’m not usually a big Stephen King reader – I’m just not into horror or scary stuff.  But this book is time travel, and OK, I have to admit it.  I love time travel books.  When they are done well, that is.  Stephen King is the master of plotting, and he did this well.  It didn’t need to be 850 pages (I got muscles in my forearms from holding the damned thing up) but it was a fun read, and I was engrossed almost all 850 pages.

11.22.63

  • Book I couldn’t finish:  The City & The City, China Mieville.  I’m going to go back to it at some point, but I didn’t get far into it because my mind kept wandering.  I think it was the names mostly – felt like I was reading Tolstoy without the payoff.  Like I said, I barely got into it, so I’m going to try again, give it at least a couple more chapters.  Then, if I still can’t get into it, I’ll give up.
  •  Book I’m reading now:  I just started Train Dreams, the novella by Denis Johnson.  Given how short it is – 116 pages – I should be able to finish it pretty quickly.  I’ll let you know what I think soon.

  •  Next on my “to be read” list –  Novel:  Little Bee, Chris Cleave.  Can’t believe I still haven’t read it.  Thanks for the loan, Nancy, and I’ll try to be finished with it before I’m back in C’Ville.
  • Next on my “to be read” list – Short Fiction:  There are several short story collections I am dying to get my hands on.  George Saunders, who many agree is one of the great American short story writers of our time, has a new one coming out in January, Tenth of December.  I adore his work – his characters are funny and odd and interesting, and his stories have emotional resonance long after reading them.  Another George, George Singleton, has a new collection out now, Stray Decorum.  George is an amazing southern writer whose characters are the people I grew up with.  In fact, he lives not far from where I grew up in upstate SC with its strip malls and industries and dying little towns. He totally gets the people who populate his stories, and I do too. Last, but certainly not least, is Alice Munro’s new collection, Dear Life.  Alice Munro leaves me breathless with her prose and her storytelling gift.

  • Book I’m going to reread soon:  Still Anna Karenina, Tolstoy.  I’d planned to do it much earlier, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

I have to say, I haven’t read a book in a while that blew me away.  In fact, several novels that I’ve read over the past few months were over-hyped, disappointing and predictable books that I wished I hadn’t wasted my time finishing. You’ll have to figure those out for yourself – I don’t like to trash other writers’ works.  But if you know of something I absolutely have to read, please let me know.  I want to be blown away.

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