Friday, April 5, 2013

March Reading

I'm a little late putting this up because ... well, I don't really have a reason or an excuse.

I ended up reading fewer books in March than the preceding months because I took a little over a week to re-watch the first season of Veronica Mars and then I took another week to re-watch the first five episodes of Bunheads.  Here's what I did read in March:

 1. NW by Zadie Smith. Believe it or not this is the first Zadie Smith novel I've ever read. I keep meaning to read her so when I saw this on the New Fiction shelf at the library I picked it up. I know it got mixed reviews but I quite liked it as a study of the lives of three people who grew up in the same estate (housing project) and never moved far.  I will definitely find and read another Zadie Smith novel.  Recommended.

2.  One Last Strike by Tony LaRussa.  This is a book about the surprising 2011 season of the St. Louis Cardinals.  I read it while I spent a weekend in Florida on spring break.  That seemed appropriate.  But despite being a huge Cardinals fan, I found this a surprisingly dull book.  Too many details and too little baseball "magic".   Not recommended.

3. Where's You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple.  I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel.  It is told as a young middle school aged girl tries to figure out why her mother disappeared by going through a file of emails and memos from the last months before the disappearance.  So it had a resemblance to an epistolary novel using emails.  I love epistolary novels because writers of letters (and emails) are always unreliable narrators.  For one thing, they are choosing a personality when they write - and that might not be their real personality or at least not their entire personality.   This novel kept me guessing.  And it was FUNNY in a snarky way.   Recommended.

4.  This is Running for Your Life by Michelle Orange.   I found this book of essays very uneven.  Some of the essays kept my interest and others made my mind wander.    Partially recommended - pick and choose.

5.  A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood.   I inadvertently read this very short novel over the two day period when the Supreme Court was considering gay marriage.  How appropriate!   I had seen the movie with Colin Firth and really enjoyed it.  The novel is wonderful.  I loved Isherwood's style. Highly Recommended.

6. Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear.   This is the latest Maisie Dobbs novel.  Winspear seemed to intend this book to be a transitional book.  I won't spoil anything but Maisie is definitely changing direction.  I continue to have a hard time warming up to Maisie as a character although I like Winspear's style and I like the period she is choosing to write about.  The last 25 pages or so of this novel were more rambling than I would have liked but the first part of the book was well written.  Recommended.

That was it for March.  I'm still slowly reading John Banville's Ancient Light.  It isn't that long of a book but I made it my "lunchtime reading" book and I haven't had much time to read over lunch.   I also have Lauren Groff's Arcadia on my night stand.