Monday, July 16, 2007

Two afternoons and an evening

Three compulsively readable, short little books this weekend. First was Calvin Trillin's About Alice. Alice is Trillin's late wife, and while the book is about her death and her absence, It is more a celebration of who she was and how she lived. It's a life story crossed with a love letter. Beautifully simple writing with the perfect balance of sadness and sweetness.

Trillin's short novel, Tepper Isn't Going Out, takes that simple charm to a much lighter subject: parking in New York. Tepper's occasional afternoons and evenings parked legally (always legally!) and reading the newspaper in his car in much-coveted locations make him a minor celebrity. Chuckle-out-loud funny at points, the books puts an endearingly uncomplicated character in a surprising yet realistic situation.

Yesterday afternoon I devoured I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (who also wrote The Book Thief, which I adored). I didn't really expect to like it when I read the first few pages, but I kept going and I liked it better and better. Then it ended, and I sat for a few minutes thinking, woah. There is much more to the book and the story than it seems -- it would be a good one to reread more slowly.

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