Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A challenge I can manage

I see all these interesting reading challenges out there, but usually they're much too structured for me. I need to be able to choose a book based on whatever sounds good at the moment. But since The Pub, hosted by 1morechapter, has minimal rules and is focused only on choosing books published in 2008, I think I can manage it. Check it out here and join in. I'll post titles once I check out some "coming soon" lists for 2008. I especially love the rule that I can change my books!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Keeping all the lights on

A word of advice: Don't finish this book when you're home alone at night. Justin Evans' A Good and Happy Child could safely be called a psychological thriller, though with a hefty dose of the supernatural thrown in. I can't decide which side of the story was scarier; both were tremendously unnerving. The novel is a page-turner in the best sense -- prose that draws the reader in quickly and holds that momentum until the very end. On his website, Evans says it took him six years to write the book; the writing definitely shows a meticulous attention to even the smallest details (a nice change from the sea of haphazardly edited books out there lately). That intensity adds up to an impressive and satisfyingly unsettling book.

And I'm still not willing to turn off the lights quite yet.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I love you, man!

Yes, I'm going to gush about another Neil Gaiman book. Anansi Boys brings together the light entertaining qualities of Neverwhere and Stardust with the depth of American Gods. It is, in turn, hilarious, intellectual, thought-provoking, and heart-warming, while incorporating elements of mystery and romance. At times I knew where the plot was going; at others, I thought I knew what was coming, only to find I was totally wrong. I loved the character of Mr. Nancy -- I wished his role was bigger, though that would quite have changed the story.

I think Coraline is the only novel I have left before braving The Sandman books. (They're pictures, y'all! That's, like, weird and stuff.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

In brief

I enjoyed The Namesake, yet I've been putting off posting this because I have so little to say about the book. Jhumpa Lahiri's writing style is solid: good storytelling, believable characters. I loved reading the details of Bengali traditions and other aspects of their culture that the Gangulis were able to incorporate into their American life. So much of the story felt unique to the immigrant experience in the U.S., yet the characters' problems were also wholly universal at their core. It's a good read. That's all I've got.