Thursday, April 26, 2012

What I've been reading: April 2012

I'm posting this a bit before the end of the month, but if there's some sudden reading binge in the next five days, I'll lump those titles into May's post.  April feels like there's something missing, like I read something and I've forgotten to write it down.  Guess I'll add that to May's post, too, if I can remember it!

The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach.  This is becoming a bit of a staff darling, and this is a novel that readers and critics actually agree is phenomenal.  Not a baseball fan?  Doesn't matter in the slightest.  Don't think you're interested in what happens to a group of college kids?  You're wrong.  This is the story of hopes and dreams, of sacrifice and starting over, of what happens when something ordinary goes so horribly wrong that nothing can ever be the way it was before.  I am not even exaggerating when I say this is one of the best books I've ever read, and the stories told within its pages, indeed, the characters themselves, will haunt me for years to come.  544 pages

Danse Macabre, by Stephen King.  This is an oldie but a goodie, originally written in 1981, and a reread for me, although it has been at least ten years since I last read it.  King waxes nostalgic and intellectual about three decades of horror in mass media, touching on its early roots in novels like Bram Stoker's Dracula and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and moving on to talk about later horror classics such as The Exorcist and The Twilight Zone.  Told with King's usual candor, insight, and good humor, this is really a lot of fun for anyone with an appreciation for things that go bump in the night.  512 pages

The Accident, by Linwood Barclay.  Set right here in Fairfield County, this novel is actually that much creepier for the familiar surroundings.  Contractor Glen Garber has seen work dry up in the bad economy, and is appreciative when his wife goes back to school in the evenings to become a book-keeper to help in the office.  When she doesn't come home from class one night, Glen gets worried, then frantic.  With their eight-year-old daughter asleep in the backseat of the car, Glen goes out looking for Sheila, only to find her dead in the aftermath of a horrible car accident, along with two other people.  In the aftermath, full of grief and denial, Glen begins to look into the accident on his own, trying to find clues to explain how it happened.  What he reveals, however, is a cascade of dangerous secrets which put the lives of both him and his daughter in peril.  Great, tight and tense suspense work from Barclay.  480 pages

Let's Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson.  If you've read this blog for awhile, you may have noticed I have a somewhat...quirky sense of humor.  Lawson's "mostly true memoir" is definitely quirky.  I've been a fan of her blog, The Bloggess, for quite some time, and her humor is in full force in this work of mostly non-fiction.  Please note, both her blog and the book have quite a bit of strong language, so if you're bothered by that sort of thing, consider yourself warned.  And if that sort of thing doesn't bother you?  Enjoy!  Lawson talks about growing up poor in rural Texas, the eccentricities of family (including a father who was a professional taxidermist), and meeting her husband, among other things.  I find her refreshing, irreverent and absolutely, howlingly funny.  318 pages

The Sunday Wife, by Cassandra King.  I've been reading ahead for my book club; this is May's selection.  Even after twenty years married to a Southern Methodist minister, Dean Lynch has never acclimated to her role as a Sunday wife.  When her husband is assigned to a larger, more demanding community, Dean becomes friends with the free and extravagant Augusta Holderfield, who encourages Dean to break out of her role of preacher's wife.  Just when Dean is reexamining her life, tragedy strikes, and Dean's life changes in ways she never imagined possible.  Sad I'm missing the meeting for this book--there's so much I want to talk about!  528 pages

The Shoemaker's Wife, by Adriana Trigiani.  Star-crossed lovers Enza and Ciro meet as teenagers in Italy around the turn of the last century.  Ciro uncovers a scandal in his village and is cast out, leaving Enza behind when he goes to forge a new life in America.  Later, Enza emigrates to America with her family, too, and these lovers meet and part and meet, until finally they are brought together for good by sheer power of their love for one another.  This is truly a beautiful love story, one for the ages, and told by Trigiani at her best.  475 pages

So, the tally for April is: 2,857 pages, 6 titles.

Year to date:
9,529/50,000 pages = 19%
22/100 titles = 22%

Doing a reading challenge of your own this year?  Let your fellow readers know how you're doing, and what you've liked!

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