Anil’s Ghost Singhalese paleontologi …

Anil’s Ghost

Singhalese paleontologist investigates bones of genocide victim. Brilliant characters, quiet writing, very aware of protagonist’s simultaneous keen detachment and strong emotion. Ondaatje’s keen awareness of poetry is apparent here. This book makes me emotional, but for other reasons than just the prose.

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders Daniyal M …

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders
Daniyal Mueenuddin

Best story is the titular one. Beautiful characters, evocative relationships. I agree with Dalrymple — best English fiction to come out of Pakistan. Stories have a wonderful relationship with each other and are put together in a logical order. Very recommended.

The Owl Killers, Karen Maitland Amazi …

The Owl Killers, Karen Maitland

Amazing book. I was initially mesmerized by the cover (bad habit) but I picked it up and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s about an attempt by a group of beguines — a devoutly religious female order — to start up in a remote village under the thumb of pagan worshippers, or the Owl Masters. After the onslaught of disease, the local villagers begin to distrust the all-female order. Desperate to get rid of them, the Owl Masters make a deal with the town’s priest, who has his own thorny secrets to hide. Unlike Publisher’s weekly, I also liked the sweeping narrative jumps and thought she had a good, clear perspective.

I liked the strong feminist themes, voices, and ethical questions about life and agency this book posed. It’s fast-paced, full of action with a somewhat unknowable quality. That might have to do with the supposed ‘sloppiness’ but I found it an interesting and positive effect.

Becoming Jane Austen, Jon Spence Its …

Becoming Jane Austen, Jon Spence

Its namesake starred Anne Hathaway and was decent (Spence was the historical advisor on set).

However, the book is a very scholarly yet loving and nuanced portrait of Jane Austen’s work, her family and circumstances, and the zest she had for life. Excellent portrait of her extended family and how they came to influence Austen’s work and an even more exemplary look at the classical context of her work.

Excellent; would definitely recommend. Am giving it as a birthday gift.

The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, …

The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, Dr. Laura Schlessinger.

Cliched-ridden collection of generic advice made offensive (to me) by its obvious religiosity and lack of gender role diversity with regard to relationships. Made suddenly prescient by her N-word controversy, I find that she’s taken delight in being narrowminded and condescending to her viewers from go.

We should all respect our partners, seek to understand them and strive to do what is best for our marriages. But I’m not sure being a simpering sycophant helps. Much of the anecdotal evidence comes from Men’s Rights Activists and men who sound generally conservative. It’s odd how relationship advice can have a very nasty anti-humanitarian/egalitarian bent.

I would not recommend this book for obvious reasons.

Never Let Me Go. Kazuo Ishiguro. Mos …

Never Let Me Go. Kazuo Ishiguro.

Most profound book on loss I have ever read. Mother once mentioned the feeling after she read TotD by Hardy; a unidentifiable feeling of a punched stomach that transcended physical cause.

Three friends — Kathy, Ruth and Tommy — lead a sheltered upbringing at a boarding school. They, and their fellow students, are children with a purpose. Just exactly what these purposes and relationships are drives the narrative brilliance of this story.

Don’t want to give away the shocker ending, but Vaguely Sinister Boarding school turns into something more beautiful, more terrifying and sad.

The Perfect Love Song. Patti Callahan He …

The Perfect Love Song. Patti Callahan Henry. 8/23

Execrable. I got it for free. Couldn’t finish reading it. Irrational genre preference — perhaps. But could not read it. Not my cup of tea.

All I have is my heart and a promise? Really? I’m not big on rings, but I’m also not crazy about cheesy one-liners either.

Fury. Salman Rushdie. 8/23 Rushdie’s …

Fury. Salman Rushdie. 8/23

Rushdie’s least popular work. There’s a reason for this. Still an excellent, evocative book, Rushdie’s quirkiness/energy falls flat. This has been done before. And it’s been done better.

Play the “Can you spot the Padma Laskhmi mannerisms” game while reading the book. (I could!)

Quote from book:

“Everywhere you looked, thought Professor Solanka, the fury was in the air. Everywhere you listened you heard the beating of the dark goddess’ wings. Trisiphone, Alecto, Megaera: the ancient Greeks were so afraid of these, their most ferocious deities, they didn’t even dare to speak their real name. To use that name, Erinnyes, Furies, might very well be to call down upon yourself those ladies’ lethal wrath. Therefore, and with deep irony, they called the enraged trinity ‘the good tempered ones’. Eumenides. The euphemistic name did not, alas, result in much of an improvement in the goddess’ permanent bad mood.”

Illyria. Elizabeth Hand. 8/23 Good book….

Illyria. Elizabeth Hand. 8/23
Good book. Kind of creepy. Provocative and about the theatre. Lots of narrative darkness. YA. Related protagonists.

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