Books 5/25/04

I keep getting behind, so I don’t feel like I’m doing each book justice as I write about it. But ah well, here we go again.

an underachiever’s diary by Benjamin Anastas: Maybe it was the point, but I was a bit underwhelmed by this novel. It was sent by booksfree, and I don’t remember ordering it, but it looked interesting. It’s the diary of a twin, whose brother does everything better than he, so he makes it his purpose in life to be an underachiever. The interesting bits come from his descriptions of being a twin- what that means, how it feels- but as a character he’s not really all that likeable. Loveable in an underdog kind of way, but not likeable.

The Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde: These are stunning, poignant stories, more than once I was moved almost to tears. As the afterward points out, many of the stories were allegories for Wilde’s own struggles, but I enjoyed them on a purely narrative level. Beautifully written… just gorgeous.

Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford: I love these books. Mitford envokes a vision of life so clear it’s as though you’re experiencing the events with her. Her characters, based loosely on real people, are lovable and dear, although complex enough to be compelling. I’m still out on her ultimate point- in both books death prevents the main characters from being mothers, I haven’t read enough of her other writings to completely decide what that means. It’s almost as though the “pursuit of love” is the important thing, and mixing children in isn’t as interesting. The one child that does live while the mother lives is seperated from her through divorce…. Maybe I’ll have more of an idea after I finish the biography I’m reading of her and her family.

Shadows over Baker St. ed. by Michael Reaves: This book was fascinating. It’s an anthology of stories about Sherlock Holmes investigating phenomenon from the Lovecraft mythos. The great logician, going up against forces that defy logic. I’m not a huge fan of Holmes, but I really enjoyed these stories. The quality of the stories is consistently high, and one was by my friend, the talented Barbara Hambly, and is now one of my favorites of her work.

the curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon: 2 things link this book to others I’ve just read- the title has no capitals, and Sherlock Holmes. The main character of this book, Christopher, is a 13 year old autistic boy investigating the murder of a neighbor’s dog. He appreciates Sherlock Holmes for his unemotional logic and the way he finds clues, as his own autism prevents him from fathoming other people’s emotions and intentions. As he investigates the murder he discovers more than he set out to, and the result is fascinating. Haddon works with autistic children, and obviously has a great understanding for the way they see the world.

A Child’s Book of True Crime by Chloe Hooper: Again, another book that underwhelmed me. The premise is interesting; school teacher has affair with man whose wife wrote a book about a true crime where a woman killed her husband’s mistress. As the plot goes on, the stories become tangled in school teacher’s head and you can’t tell if she’s going crazy or discovering the truth. Sounds interesting, and it kinda was, but the ending was eh, and the conceit of having every other chapter be a chapter from the children’s story that the school teacher writes to tell the son involved in all this the truth didn’t really work.

Current count: 48
Just Finished: A Child’s book of True Crime by Chloe Hooper
Currently Reading: The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family

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