for those who are in or around sane

Thursday, December 6

november books

books books books! i love books! down to my belly... wait...

you get my point...

#1
the american, by henry james

this was for book club #2 - the ladies lounge. this is my first, real, actual wine/cheese/chocolate book club. i have to say, the meeting was a lot more fun than the book. we paired french food and wine with the book's setting of paris.

mr. newman is a self-made american millionaire vacationing in europe. he uses his deep pockets to comb the lands for all things interesting and beautiful. of course, he encounters the perfect woman. only - her family holds a dark secret, and she cannot be obtained. newman woos the girl, but neglects to get the family's blessing, causing serious familial stress and horrible repercussions. death, nunneries and long journeys ensue. the book is a solid take on class and societal differences across cultures - the rich, forward-thinking american vs. the steadfast, old-monied french. james writes well, but the style created for a methodical plod of pace. after wiki-ing mr. james, i found out that this is one of his significant trademarks: he writes to reflect the mood and pace of the plot.

although i appreciated the writing, and there were a lot of good plot twists to discuss, i dont recommend this for the average wine/cheese/chocolate book club.

#2
anne's house of dreams by l.m. montgomery

the next in the anne series (perhaps i'll get another witty retort from my anonymous reader??). i am glad to be "back" in the "regular" anne world again. the world where anne is not always the savior and bad things do happen (albeit with happy endings).

gilbert and anne move to a fishing village to start their new life together in a little house of dreams. the neighbors are either friendly or in need of a little anne-ish-ness to come 'round. anne and gilbert have baby #1 and continue to grow up.

sweet, short and well-rounded... again, another enjoyable lunchtime read.

#3
the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime by mark haddon

this was my audiobook of the moment. the narrator was clever, and i enjoyed a few long drives and work outs with the plot.

christopher has aspergers syndrome (a form of autism), and is the difficult, methodical writer of this story. he intends to tell a factual tale of how the neighbor's dog was killed and how he was able to solve the crime. what we get is an inside look into this 15 year old's special brain. i have to say, i really want my mom to read this one. she works with a lot of kids with this syndrome, and i'd like to see if she thinks it's an accurate rendition. if it is true to life, i'm amazed and in awe of the beauty of the mind. christopher clearly functions in a different way from the rest of us. he's socially removed and incredibly strict with routine. but he loves fiercely and relates to the world around him in unique and inspiring way.

i definitely recommend this for any readers who are curious about the inner workings of the mind. or, if you like a good mystery! i have to say, the mystery part snuck up on me, and i took a great liking to it.

#4
the end of the affair by graham greene

almost forgot this one! this was book club blog book of november. i think only two of us ended up reading it (maybe more stragglers will pull in), but it was quite an amazing read. its very short, and so well written that i plowed through it in only 4 sittings.

maurice, sarah and henry are in a love triangle with a twist - an "absent" 4th party: god. sarah and henry have a passionless, methodical marriage. maurice and sarah have a passionate, fitful affair. maurice and henry become methocially needy friends. and sarah wrestles with her faith in god, which ultimately leads to the end of her affair and the ultimate betrayal of her marriage. maurice, the jilted lover, is the biased narrator of this unfortunate affair. he cheats and lies his way back into sarah's life, all but too late to say a final goodbye to her.

i enjoyed the sad tale each character provided. greene's writing is amazing: perhaps the best i've seen since i discovered rushdie. i know i'm late in coming to that realization (and it's slightly embarassing as an english major). it also provoked me to look deeply at the faith questions that were brought up. this is, ultimately, a story about love in god - is it fleeting and passionate as an affair, or is it deep and all-encompassing? should it be both? does god even exist? if he does, what do we owe him? what does he owe us? can an athiest become a believer?

it was a great book for a book club blog, but since only one other person entered into these questions with me, i have to say, i'm still yearning for a bit more from it. if you care to discuss, check out the readers anonymous blog, or just comment on here.

i've got quite a few books on deck. i'm trying to put my shelfari page back up on the blog, so you can see what i've got... but right now it's giving me an error message. you'll see it soon enough! what did you read in november???

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1 Comments:

Anonymous rhett said...

yeah, sometimes I lag on the book club scene. I'm going to get to the yiddish policeman's union sometime in early 2008 ;)

6:20 AM

 

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