015) Case Histories by Kate Atkinson, finished February 18
- Lady Steed's book group is reading this book now and I like to read them too so I can pretend I get to do fun stuff like girls do. Or at least talk about it with the Lady. It's nice to read the same books now and then.
I actually started the book before Lady Steed did, although I was only eight pages into it when she finished. I was anxious to pick it back up because Atkinson has a very compelling voice.
I usually avoid giving anything away in these responses, and I won't give much more away than the jacket does here, but all the same: SPOILER WARNING.
This book made Lady Steed gasp aloud in horror several times as she read it. And also other quite audible reactions to everything from the terrible to the sexual. This book has something for everybody! that's for sure.
One thing we both agree is that the book comes very close to being too tidy. The almost Dickensian confluence of coincidence is decidedly unmodern. Although, to be fair, the characters never see quite how tidy everything turned out, and that somehow makes it okay.
And here's a kudo to Atkinson: although she builds up big surprises, she doesn't make big reveals. She's smart enough to realize we're smart enough to figure out what she's up to.
Anyway. Reading this book so soon after The Lovely Bones was not good for my mental calm. So many dead girls! Everywhere I look! I'm awful glad I don't have a daughter at the moment; I would not be able to sleep nights.
Books like this often make me realize how fragile life is--that anyone could die at any moment. This book made me realize a corollary to this, viz. life is fragile--any one could kill someone else at any moment.
Lady Steed was just saying that this book made her wonder how many people have accidentally killed someone and never told and never been found out. All those missing people....
Life is precious. Be grateful you are both alive and not any more damaged than you are. And that you've never killed anyone. Assuming you haven't.
You haven't, right?
a couple weeks
014) Ultimate Spider-Man: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, finished February 15
- The Big O saw this while we were at the library and, as he's a big Spider-Man fan these days, he wanted to check it out. I said yes.
I had recently read an article in Entertainment Weekly about a dad who tells Peter Parker's journey to Spider-Man as a bedtime story, and the mythic power of the best, most enduring comics tales is not lost on me.
Big O was bored by the beginning--everything precostume--and I had to skim, but as we moved on, he got into it.
Me, I was less thrilled. I don't know if you;re familiar with Marvel's Ultimates, but they update old characters. I borrowed the X-Men one from Master Fob once and, if memory serves, it was a lot like this one:overslick, overglossy, overstyled---
I'm not a big fan. I much prefer, say, Batman: Year One. I wonder if that's simply generational...?
013) Trusting Jesus by Jeffrey R. Holland, finished February 11
- First, I need to thank the person who left this book at church for any old anybody to pick up. Meaning me. I picked it up, and I thank you.
Second, I need to note how sad I was to find out this was just repackaged speeches I had already heard or could have easily found.
That said though, great book! For instance, the penultimate chapter is perhaps my favorite speech of his (evidence 1 and 2). And---but let me let you let yourself in on their greatness. Here's a sampling:
This Do in Remembrance of Me: Includes excellent suggestion on how to spend the sacrament. At least as good as my ideas. At least.
As Doves to Our Windows: Some of my favorite stories of faithfulness ever. Including one that was just made into a movie.
The Other Prodigal: That favorite I mentioned.
Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence: This was one of the first BYU Devotionals I ever attended and it was just what I needed at the time. I returned to it again and again, and its title--from Paul--became my mantra. As the final essay in the book, I just now reread it. And once again, it was just what I needed to hear. Truly beautiful.
Sometimes I feel I get more than I deserve. And sometimes I feel that Elder Holland was an apostle called just to say words designed to succor me.
And sometimes I think what the heck! You seriously expect people to pay $19.95 for what they could get for free online?
I may be conflicted.....
guessing about sixteen months
012) Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham et al., finished February 11
- I read a couple volumes of Fables in 2006 and was so phenomenally disappointed in their mere okayness that I thought I would never try them again. But this book--a one off with a cool cover--caught my attention at the library and I checked it out and I liked it.
Not every story is as successful as the best of them, but over all it's a nice collection with mostly great art. I particularly loved Tara McPherson's story--I couldn't stop staring. This school of art is pretty hip now and I love it. Does that make me hip? Discuss.
Of course the big question for Vertigo is did it make me want to read more? And the answer is yes, it did. At least. I will keep trying other Vertigo titles.
I still need to find a copy of Animal Man......
011) Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach, finished February 4
- So I like Mary Roach and really I don't see how one can not. Even though tradition tells us that strict empiricists shouldn't get along with choose-to-believe-ers, I still like her. She's delightful.
And so I recommend this book heartily that you may learn about everything from soul weighing to the vaginal hideaways of ectoplasm to cutting-edge quantum speculation. As opposed to spaculation which went out of style decades ago.
Ahem. Anyway. Very nice book, very nice. Get your own copy.
And then get it signed. She has a really cool signature.
010) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, finished February 3
009) American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, finished LDotFMotNY
008) Zombification: Stories from National Public Radio by Andrei Codrescu, finished January 22
007) Marriage Lines: Notes of a Student Husband by Ogden Nash, finished January 22
006) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, finished January 20
005) The Salmon of Doubt:: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time by Douglas Adams, finished January 14
004) Lord of the Flies by William Golding, finished January 10
003) Rising Sun by Michael Crichton, finished January 7
002) The Marketing of Sister B by Linda Hoffman Kimball, finished January 2
001) Animal Farm by George Orwell, finished January 1