Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Channeling Matilda

Sure, I have a Kindle, but my wallet can't support my reading speed quite yet, so I often head to the library. Sometimes I am a little, shall we say, ambitious, and I come home from the library like Matilda with a wagon full of books.

Unfortunately, of the books I mentioned here, only one of them was available (well, technically I already bought The Night Circus, so I wasn't looking for it). But what happens when the library doesn't have what you're looking for? You find something else! (And add your name to the waiting list.)

I've been reading Anna Karenina on my Kindle, but then writing about it was proving difficult, so I snagged a paper copy in hopes that my thoughts will take better shape.

Then I passed through the "K" isle and had to get a copy of The Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. I love this book - though oddly enough I obviously don't own a copy. If you're unfamiliar with Kingsolver, I highly suggest starting with this one. I owe my love of Kingsolver to Rachel McAdams, yes the actress. Several years ago Marie Claire ran a piece about summer reading and the editors read this book with Rachel. So maybe I picked up this book because it was celebrity endorsed, who cares?  It's a story of rebirth and personal discovery, set in the Appalachian mountains. The main characters at first seem dissimilar (and their stories are not connected in the beginning), but by novels end you will find their growth and personal struggles bring them together in a way that's both surprising and enlightening. Not that it's necessary for a book to be successful, but I find myself rooting for every character, even the supporting characters. And it's not that they are trying to overcome something concrete necessarily, but that you want what's best for them, whether that be to leave town and start anew or to put down roots. 

A college roommate of mine read American Wife when we were in college. It's a fictional imagination of a presidents wife and her experience in the Whitehouse and public eye, I am super intrigued. Then, a local friend of mine posted a recent newspaper article by Curtis Sittenfeld about the merits of living in the Midwest, specifically Saint Louis, and so now I have to read her books. 

Which brings me to Prep, also by Sittenfeld. Prep has always been on my reading list, another good reason to stroll through the library, you'll remember book titles you scribbled haphazardly years ago. I read this over the weekend and I am still not sure what to make of it. On one hand, I agree with the book jacket reviews which compare the main character, Lee, to Holden Caufield. But I don't know if I liked the book. At times I found the main character whiny and other times perfectly normal for an introspective high schooler. I made notes throughout the book, so once I get my mind wrapped around this depiction of high school I'll post about it - and hopefully I can articulate my feelings about the use of sex without sounding like prissy. 

Nothing like getting new books from the library while trying to read Tolstoy and a book club assignment. Opps!

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