i just finished reading “the orchid house” by lucinda riley. the book fascinated me, mainly because it was a string of improbable cliches. even though i clearly hated the book early on, i could not stop reading it. no explanation. then, i got to page 215. then, the book went to page 245. yes, you read that right, the book was missing 30 pages. i can only assume that those missing pages contain the climax of the novel since it was most definitely not in the other 400 pages. anyway, my official sum of the novel is that it was overdone, ridiculous, and unbelievable. i mean that in the kindest way possible.
i also read “all the light we cannot see” by anthony doerr. in contrast, this book was magic. breathtaking prose, carefully crafted characters, beautiful plot. if i met you on the street i would probably push this book into your hands and tell you to read it.
and, to add to the list, “cavendon women” by barbara taylor bradford (fun!), “the storied life of a.j. fikry” by gabrielle zevin (meh), “wool” by hugh howey (excellent), “on writing” by stephen king (great), and “big little lies” by liane moriarty (fascinating).
and currently reading, “mistborn” by brandon sanderson via audible and “girl waits with gun” by amy stewart. reviews forthcoming.
i just finished “ghosts of everest: the search for mallory & irvine” by hemmleb, johnson, and simonson. i don’t have a habit of reading nonfiction–even though that was my course of study in grad school, go figure–but i charged through this book. it’s well-written and compelling, like a good mystery novel. the writers put together something that reads like a book and not like a set of mountaineering notes. if you’re at all interested in everest, i recommend this. or, like me, you may not know you’re interested in everest until you read this book.
also, i’m currently making my slow way through “words of radiance” by brandon sanderson on the kindle (beats carrying a heavy fantasy novel all over). all i have to say is it’s killing me not to know what a “safe hand” is. also want to know what the parshendi are. seriously, i’ve read a gazillion pages and he’s not giving me anything. maybe it’s because i am the next surgebinder….
and i’m too embarrassed to tell you what i’m listening to on audible. if you guess right i’ll give you two dollars.
so, “the way of kings” by brandon sanderson. the problem with this brandon guy is i have this personal vendetta: he went through the same graduate program as me but now he’s written a bazillion books and, well, i haven’t. good enough excuse to hate someone? we’ll have to think on it. back to the book. it’s long. and nothing in particular happens. i kept thinking to myself, “why am i reading this?” and yet, i kept reading it. i find his novels incredibly engrossing, even when nothing is happening. (and of course the whole time i’m reading his books, i’m also silently cursing him. as if he took all my writing mojo or something just by existing.) to quote ramona quimby (one of the best characters of all time), “i can’t believe i read the whole thing.” i would recommend this book to anyone sci-fi or fantasy prone. wouldn’t suggest it as your first foray into the genre. for that i think i would recommend “mistborn.” and, as we know, brandon sanderson is the gift that keeps giving. there’s a second novel out in this born-to-be-epic series called “words of radiance” and i’m reading it. should keep me busy for a long time.
and in the world of audio books, i downloaded amy poehler’s book “yes, please.” i worship amy poehler. i think parks and rec was the best thing to happen on television since the gummy bears. but i hate this book. i cannot listen to it anymore. i thought it would be witty and hilarious. it is not. and it grinds through pages and pages of what it’s like to be on SNL. i know it’s a memoir-ish book and plot is optional, but this book is all over the place. and she uses the f word so much it made me uncomfortable and i have a relatively high tolerance for a well-used expletive. sorry, amy, i’m going to see if audible will take this one back.
so, i started listening to “unbroken” by laura hillenbrand. i might give away some of the plot, if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing… anyway, i started listening to this book, which is incredibly compelling. sort of like watching a twenty car pile up. so i listened to the guy running races and then i listened to him on the raft in the shark infested water and then when the story didn’t end there, i couldn’t stomach it. yes, folks, it’s true. i quit listening to a book. (curiously, i find it easy to stop listening to a book, but not as easy to stop reading a hard copy.) i just could not stand the stress of the guy (see, i don’t even remember his name) being a POW and going through questioning, etc. i can’t believe they made this into a movie. yikes. don’t want to see it.
moving on, i reread an old favorite, “far from the
madding crowd” by thomas hardy. i love this book for so many reasons. i love that thomas hardy wasn’t all doom and gloom, that he could write an incredibly real love story, without going all jane austen. i love the language: i could fawn over hardy’s sentences all day. you have my permission to read this book as many times as you want. you’re welcome.
back again today with more books. just finished “the martian” by andy weir and read by r. c. bray. this book was terrific and hilarious. bray’s interpretation was inspired: i admit to laughing foolishly while listening. in fact, i think this book is probably better as an audio book, the inflection and sarcasm was perfect. i will add a warning, however, that it’s full of expletives–so, you know, no one can blame me for not warning you.