Books 6/1/05

After reading A Factory of Cunning, I was inspired to pick up the recent French mini-series version of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. The director made some interesting decisions as far as character motivation, and overall it was a very good adaptation. I mention it because the last couple of books I’ve read have either been adaptions, or been adapted.

I loved The Hours by Michael Cunningham when I read it last year. It’s an homage to Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, and I decided it was high time I read the original. And may I say, the original is stunning. It’s the story of a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, but through the complex narrative Woolf has created, it’s so much more than that. Her style is an adapted stream of conciousness, which switches from one charachter to the next as people cross paths. As the events of their day spark their memories, they slip into reminiscence. With a few carefully chosen words, the narrative expands wider and wider until a world of history and relationships are captured. Her skill and eloquence truly left me in awe.

I picked up The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler at the airport on the way to a trip. I’m a fan of Jane Austen, although I really haven’t read a lot of her works, and I figured this would be a nice introduction. The book centers on a reading group who forms to read the books of Jane Austen. As the members of the group read each book, the events in their lives and memories echo those in Jane Austen’s books. I said I hadn’t read a lot of Austen’s books, but I know them well enough to recognize the themes and story elements. The book works well in that a thorough knowledge of Austen’s works isn’t in any way necessary to appreciate and understand this one. The stories and characters stand up well enough on their own to be completely enjoyable.

I also reread Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger, which, as far as I know has not been adapted, but it’s entirely possible that it has been. Salinger writes short stories the way they should be written. His characters are so vivid, so real. His worlds are complete little worlds, and they’re beautiful.

I’m so far behind my reading count that I really need to catch up.

Current Total: 36
Just Finished: Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger
Next Up: Misfortune by Wesley Stace

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