When my trusty old gateway laptop died a couple of months ago, it really took the winds out of my blogging sails. I don't know if you've ever tried to do anything on an Ipad, but don't. I mean, I love my Ipad for writing my stories, because I can't do anything on it but write and read worthless home decoration blogs and those are super-boring after a while, not like Hulu. Oh, Hulu! You are the only thing standing between me and being Sylvia Plath (also, a brain). Anyway, I have this fancy new Mac (I keep thinking something is wrong with it, because I spent so much stupid money on it and why isn't it doing my work for me?) and all this time I've been reading things, and also writing them down and then writing words about those things, but a lot of that got lost in the Great Water Glass Disaster of 2011, so here's this instead.
Things I Seem to Remember Reading in the Last Few Months:
–Remembrance of Things Past— the key to reading Marcel Proust is to listen to Marcel Proust instead, which I did and it was wonderful. Walking on the greenway, listening to his description of a walk through the French countryside somehow brought both things to life for me. They sort of merged into this lovely, sensual whole. Also, some of the time I zoned out and that made the book go faster?
–The Private Patient, A Taste for Death, Devices and Desires, Cover Her Face, The Lighthouse, all by PD James– well, of course I did. My very favorite of these was A Taste for Death.
–The Likeness by Tana French– this was a really well written mystery with a totally absurd premise. It was like she finished her first novel and thought "I am really, super-good at writing. I'm going to write something with a ludicrous, almost Shakespearean premise (sidebar: I have never met a convincing transvestite, and yet Ye Olden Times were apparently full of them), and see how it goes." I just couldn't buy the set-up (which is: a woman, Lexie Madison, is murdered and Detective Cassie Maddox looks so like her that she goes undercover as the woman to find her killer. Also, the dead woman stole her identity from a previous Cassie Maddox undercover job. Lexie Madison, per say, never existed. What?)
–The Looming Tower— a fascinating account of the rise of Al-Qaeda. It was incredibly frustrating to realize all the opportunities there were to prevent or limit the events of 9/11.
–Under the Banner of Heaven— I actually had to stop reading this half-way through because I got so depressed. As a history of Mormonism, and especially, of the shortcomings and missteps of early Mormon leaders, this is a really riveting story. As a case study of religious extremism and how a religion is actually made: great stuff. As an account of the 1984 murder of a woman and her child by Mormon fundamentalists: intensely depressing. I mean really, really desperately sad. I may take it up again, I'm not sure? I've been reading (on and off because it's a tough read) Bartolome De Las Casas's writings on the early Spanish colonies in the new world, and I've realized that the entire world of fervent faith and religion is outside my understanding. I just don't get it (and I'm not saying that's a good thing, actually, just that it's totally diferent from my own experience).
–The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey– Tey is a lesser-known writer from the golden age of British mysteries (Agatha Christie is probably the best known writer from this period). This was the first novel of hers I've read. I loved this, are you kidding? It's a mystery without a murder. I always think it's a little bit morally suspect that I get such pleasure out of reading murder mysteries, you know?
–Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy— I think I like the idea of Le Carre better than actual Le Carre. So many names. So many names! How am I supposed to follow the story, since I have no memory and can't pick up a pen due to this crippling laziness?!
–A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin– OHMYGAH. I mean, I know I already said this, but whatever.
I think that's it. That's probably it?