Thursday, October 29, 2009
I'm sincerely hoping that at least a few of you noticed that I haven't been posting for the past two weeks. I've been on vacation.
It was a celebration of my thirtieth wedding anniversary and it was an extravagance at a time when it doesn't really feel okay to be extravagant. But we wanted to honor our steadfastness, so off we went.
The trip was to France, and we availed ourselves of almost every form of transportation available: plane, boat, bus, train, bicycle, subway, and of course our own feet. All of this moving around gave me ample opportunity to read. Here's what I read:
Girl Trouble by Holly Goddard Jones. I thoroughly enjoyed these short stories. Jones has a way with characters, and two of the stories were especially strong. One, early in the book, was told from the viewpoint of a mother whose son has committed a rape and murder. The last story was told from the viewpoint of the son.
Chemistry and Other Stories by Ron Rash. Short stories set in Appalachia. The most memorable of them is the award-winning story, "Speckled Trout".
The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker. Full of humor, this novel is about a poet trying to write an introduction for an anthology he has put together. I learned a lot about poetry and linquistics. I also learned that "Carpe diem" does not mean, "Seize the day" but "Pluck the day".
White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. Set in India, this was an easy read, a funny and quirky story of a taxi driver. I am surprised that it won the Man Booker Award though.
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. This is four hundred plus pages of addictive reading. Told in the form of letters written to a woman's husband, it is the fictional story of the life of a boy who was troubled from the day he was born, and committed mass murder at his high school when he was months shy of his fifteenth birthday. A magnificant book club pick.
Tomorrow I will give a few highlights of the trip, but I won't bore you with a blow-by-blow travelogue. The photograph is from the second leg of the trip.