What I’m Reading Now

July 23, 2008 at 6:05 pm | Posted in Books | Leave a comment

In the long days of summer, the quality of TV shows tends to go downhill. Reality shows seem to be taking over the airwaves, and my favorite shows (Heroes, Ugly Betty, Dirty Sexy Money) won’t be back on the air for another month and a half. Therefore, avoiding the ‘idiot box’ has become a top priority lately. Of course, free outdoor events in NYC makes my job easier. I’ve also been exercising outdoors in an attempt to avoid having to use treadmills and elliptical machines indoors (in order to make running on a treadmill bearable, I turn on the TV to watch the reality show offerings on MTV or VH1).

Thanks to the awesome libraries in my neighborhood, I’ve been catching up on notable novels of the last 25 years. EW recently made a list of the top 100 books since 1983 and I’ve been using that list as my guide on what books to check out from the library (saving $ is good). Here are my findings:

Kaaterskill Falls by Allegra Goodman: I have previously heard of Allegra Goodman through her book “Intuition”. The subject matter of KF was an instant draw; I have spent some time in religious communities, although probably not as religious as the one Ms. Goodman writes about in her book. The description of KF was so rich, you could see the colors of the leaves changing, the waterfalls. You also saw the good and the not so good side of living in a religious community, you get the social and familial connection but you might also feel stifled, you might feel your options are limited. I like that Ms. Goodman doesn’t outright villanize characters or try to make them too perfect. They are complete people, with their good qualities and their flaws.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving: Wow, what a doozy of a book and I don’t mean only in length although it is over 500 pages. I wish I could write more details about this book but that would give so much away. You experience a wide range of emotions in this novel, and it will leave an undeniable impression on you after you’re finished.

Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian: Why none of this author’s books made the EW top 100 list is beyond me. I have read several of his novels and have enjoyed each one. The one book you’re probably heard about from CB is Midwives and that’s because it was on Oprah’s reading list. SATF differs from his previous novels; most of his other novels take place in New England in modern times. SATF is set in Europe during the end of WW II. I am a big fan of CB and historical fiction, I found the change in time and place maybe gave the author a boost, I found this to be his best work yet. There are 3-4 different story arcs that come together near the end of the novel. The main characters are a family who is from what was then called Prussia, they were very wealthy once upon a time and were supporters of the Nazi party. If you were to tell me that I would feel compassion for them, I would have probably thought you were crazy. It is the power of the writing that made me change my mind.  Once you start reading this book, you won’t put it down unless you have unbelievable willpower.

I plan on doing these weekly, or most likely, bi-weekly. Of course, if you come across any good novels, write about it in the “Comments” section : )

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