jan_can_too (jan_can_too) wrote,

Spring Reading Contest - Final Installment

I only read one classically literary novel. I did not buy it for the title, which is The Children’s Book. I bought it because I like A.S. Byatt. I love the texture of her writing. I fall under her spell every time I read one of her books. I get that she was going for the lush richness of life and all its complications wiped out by the evil of war, but I still didn’t like the ending. Too much was left hanging rather than resolved.

In the fantasy section of my virtual bookstore, I can now file Dust of Dreams, the latest book in the Malazon series. I love these books for all their complexity and density, although the apocalyptic plot of this one was a downer.

I read several mysteries. I have now polished off the Stieg Larsson books, having read The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I enjoyed the series, but I think the first book was the strongest. By the end, I was a little tired of the main character sleeping with everyone, but maybe that’s just me. I also enjoyed the anthology I borrowed from Brent, The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. All the writers who took their crack at Holmes did a creditable job, leaving me much amused if not totally inspired.

The rest of my reading, believe it or not, was nonfiction.

I was charmed by Andre Agassi’s Open. It was a great story and well told. Sure, he had help, but it was good help. And I have to like it that he ended up with a serious commitment to education.

My friend Yvonne recommended The Middle Place to me a while back. Funny books about cancer are rare, as Anne Lamott has noted before. This is one of them. It’s also a father-daughter love story. Bring tissues.

Bright-Sided is not a funny book. However, it was fodder for my continued thinking on attitude and reality. I’m not really the inspirational book type—I break out in hives upon overexposure to chicken soup books and I think despair.com is brilliant—but I was interested in the contention that the societal pressure to think positively gets in the way of actual social change.

Speaking of social change, I read Tolstoy’s book What To Do. I would like to be self-sufficient, exploiting no one for my needs. I’m not sure Tolstoy got there either, but it was interesting to read his account of the development of his thinking.

Self-sufficiency is also a theme in Your Money or Your Life, recommended to me by the always wise Amy. It has been really good to work through exercises in the book with Brent and to share a common goal.

Man’s Search for Meaning was not an easy book to read. I recoil in horror from the things we humans can and do do to each other. As a person prone to despair myself, I admire Frankl’s resistance. I’d like to believe that he is right and on good days I manage. I would recommend it.

Finally, I read a book about books. Nicholson Baker’s Double Fold got me good and mad. I believe in books on dead trees. I believe in libraries full of books. If you do, too, you can get ticked off by reading this book, too. I gave it to Syd and he’s been foaming at the mouth. Nothing like books to spur folks on to action!

That’s it for now. Off to do the summer reading and regain my position as Top Bookworm.

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