Friday, July 29, 2011

A smorgasbord 'o reviews

So I'm a bit behind on things. I've finished a few books recently, but I keep forgetting to write about them, so now you get a lovely little sampling.

First up: The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker

There were some great lines in this book and I ended up reading it with a notebook nearby so that I could write down quotes and the names of different poets I wanted to look into. But the brilliance didn't really extend beyond certain lines. It read like a disjointed, stream of consciousness journal that was accidentally published. The basic idea of a guy who's supposed to be writing the introduction to an anthology while he feels like his life is falling apart sounds interesting, but the way Baker presented the story, it just wasn't. I just got really annoyed with the protagonist and wanted him to just get along with it. So the fun quips could make it worth the time for some readers, but overall I might suggest skipping The Anthologist.

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

It's a classic. Love. That is all.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

The conclusion to the Millenium series. As with its two predecessors, I really enjoyed it. As you may remember, I grudgingly gave into the hype and started reading the series, but I've continued to be pleasantly surprised. The characters and the intrigue are great and the writing is just.... smart. Yeah, these are books I feel are deserving of all the praise they get. Haven't read them yet? Go for it.

London by Edward Rutherfurd

A sweeping saga showcasing the history of London. What more can an anglophile wish for? I really enjoyed this book. With every era, the stories changed, yet we saw echoes of earlier characters and earlier times. It was a masterful historic piece. A million thumbs up.

 The Tiger's Wife by Teá Obreht

I've accidentally gotten into the habit of picking up and reading books without reading the back cover or figuring out even the most basic setting/ideas of the book. I did that with this. Thankfully, it worked out pretty well. The Tiger's Wife was a great read, though I wish I'd done a bit of research so I had some sort of historical understanding. In any case, still phenomenal. The intertwined stories of the protagonist's present day, her grandfather's history, and the stories he told work off of each other in a way that gives the larger picture great depth.

Whew. There we go. Now you're all caught up. I'm reading 2666 and The Plantagenet Prelude at the moment. Also, I'm sort of reading A Red Herring Without Mustard (the third in the Flavia de Luce series), but it isn't the highest priority right now. Then there's the collection of Edna St. Vincent Millay poems I've been reading during random lulls in my day. I still have her biography to read. So many things out of the library. I can't even handle it.

In entirely non-book related news, I've applied to start training as an EMT with a local rescue squad. I was a junior member very briefly in high school, but I wasn't really ready for the responsibility and I had a lot of other things going on. Now, I think I'm ready. At this point, I practically crave responsibility. It can take "several weeks" for me to hear back, and I just mailed my application on Tuesday, but I'm already vibrating with impatience. Hopefully I'll hear back and start training soon.

Off to my books for now!

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