November 2012

It's been a fine, long stretch of reading for me. Some marvelous books. I'm finally free of the obligation to read everything ever written about the Holocaust in Hungary (though I doubt I cracked the surface), and am reading purely for fun, which is pure joy. I suppose it's getting to be time to consider my next novel, so soon enough I'll have to turn my attention to whatever inspiration will be appropriate for that. Though for the time being, I haven't the faintest idea what I'll do next. TV, at least through the end of the year, and hopefully longer. Freud's Sister by Goce Smilevski If this novel has even a jot of truth in it, Freud was a loathsome prick (but we knew that already) who allowed his sisters to be murdered by the Nazis when he could have saved them. Worth a read for those, like me, who are Holocaust-obsessed.

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan I'd read McEwan's dream journal (and I despise dreams), so perhaps I'm not a good gauge of this one, but I did like it very much. I like all his books very much. Though the main character here didn't ring quite as true to me as some others of his. It wasn't her callowness. I have teenagers. I know how callow youth is. It was just something about her seemed false.

Traps by MacKenzie Bezos Bezos is a great, relatively undiscovered, talent. She's got a miraculous way with a sentence.

The City of Devi by Manil Suri I am a total sucker for Suri. He blows my mind. And this book is just a fun and fabulous as the rest.

Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie This memoir about Rushdie's days under the Iranian Fatwa is fascinating, mostly because it's chock full of literary gossip and payback.

The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford Sometimes the prose is delightful, but the sexism so unbearable that it's impossible to enjoy a book. It just comes off as at once boorish and insipid, which is something of a trick. But I hear Parade's End is great, so I'll give it a try before I give up on him as a writer who does not survive his era.

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison A very quick, very sweet and charming (and sad) read.

Time and Again by Jack Finney I was briefly considering writing a time travel TV show, and read this for that. It was super fun.

Jacob's Folly by Rebecca Miller This book doesn't necessarily fulfill its ambition, but it's better to strive and not quite succeed than not to try at all. It's fascinating and worth the read.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson I totally adored this book. It's experimental in its way, but also a ripping yarn. (See how British I can be?)

Nella Last's War: The Second World War Diaries of Housewife, 49 edited by Richard Broad and Suzie Fleming This book was part of the Mass-Observation project in England, where people -- not writers, just regular, normal, not-necessarily-neurotic people -- were asked to keep daily diaries. Nella Last's is remarkably fascinating. She's a terrific writer, but more to the point, the window into the life of a housewife in the thick of the war, the bombings, the rationing, is incredibly interesting. And the food! Gah. Horrible.

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt I honestly can't say why I liked this book so much. Probably the stylish prose. Has to be, actually, because I sort of hate Westerns. But I gobbled this up in just a couple of nights.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel by Maria Semple Super, super fun.

Toby's Room by Pat Barker Barker's Regeneration trilogy are among my favorite books. But now it just feels like she's just treading the same, well-worn path.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn Not my cup of tea.

Trapezeby Simon Mawer I love a good spy story.