First of all I acknowledge that I haven’t posted in quite awhile. My apologies if you were missing me, but I was going through a writer’s block phase, I guess. Anywho, at the moment I’m typing while on the train home from New York, which is a great time to relax and get some thoughts down.
For this post I thought it was time I talked about what I’ve been reading lately – because it’s actually been a lot! Also I haven’t mentioned a book on this blog in ages.
Most recently I devoured Suzanne Collins’ books – The Hunger Games and Catching Fire – the first 2 parts of a planned trilogy. It’s classified as “young adult fiction,” but considering the subject matter I would have to take issue with that label. In the post-apocalyptic country of Panem, the wealthy denizens of the Capitol force the plebeians in the 12 outer districts to participate in an annual lottery. One boy and one girl in their teens from each district are selected to participate in a televised death-match, with the winner promised a life free from want. Gripping and fast-paced, I think these books are not to be missed.
Biographies are something I enjoy on occasion, and I’ve recently read two. The first was Julie Andrews’ autobiography Home, which chronicles her life up through the start of her film career. One learns much about life in London during wartime, and about the heady days of Broadway in the 50s and 60s. The book was slow to start, but once she begins talking about life in My Fair Lady, it becomes most compelling.
As delightful a storyteller as she was a teacher, Julia Child’s book My Life in France is enchanting. Her ability to describe food and the experience of eating it is a revelation. We learn a lot about the French way of life, and how Julia maintained a storybook love affair for decades. After reading this, you will never look at a cookbook the same way again.
I know it’s not always historically accurate, and there is much disdain for his style of writing out there, but I don’t care – I love Dan Brown. He spins a tale in a way that you are drawn along like a fish on a line, and his books are hard to put down. So I was excited for his latest, The Lost Symbol, which takes Robert Langdon on an adventure in our nation’s capital. As a resident of the D.C. area for years, the book was a particular pleasure. I learned a lot about our fascinating and storied city, all the while being sucked into another exciting adventure. On the whole I don’t think this one lived up to Brown’s previous 2 books, but it was nonetheless an enjoyable read.
For a complete change of pace, I was interested in our book club’s choice of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. But feeling the pull of a purist, I chose to first read Jane Austen’s original novel. And that was definitely a tough one – I eventually felt it sailing along, but it was a challenge to get into. However, I was well-rewarded when taking on Seth Grahame-Smith’s book, as it lifts directly from Austen’s text for much of the novel, allowing me to move quickly from scene to scene to enjoy the brain-munching mayhem. It’s hard to explain how this mix of classic and contemporary works, but I assure you it’s seamless. And if you ever read the original and though a few characters were just awful and deserved to be punished – rejoice! This time around, they get what’s coming to them.
So there’s just a sampling of what I’ve been reading lately – how about you? Have you read any of these and would like to offer an opinion? Or do you have any good recommendations for me to pick up next?