Posts Tagged ‘american literature’

1st December
2010
written by Steph

What a beautiful thing it is...

If you're at all like me, you've probably never taken Steve Martin as an author very seriously. I mean, am I really meant to believe that a man who willingly stars in Cheaper By The Dozen is capable of writing quality literature? Actually, as it turns out, the answer is a resounding: Hell yes! I know that many bloggers have been charmed by Martin's previous novella, Shopgirl, but I admit I never felt I needed to read it despite their praise. Now, I'm going to do something I pretty much never do and say that I was wrong. Because while I can't say anything about the merits of Shopgirl as I still haven't read it, I can say that An Object of Beauty, Martin's latest literary offering is a damn good read. More than just a pretty cover, this book is a fascinating (if fictional) trek through the rise and fall of Lacey Yeager and the New York art scene, something I didn't think I cared about, but apparently I do. And you will too if you read this book! Because it is really good! It's definitely got an old-fashioned vibe to it, but doesn't feel dated or stodgy, just like one of those books that's a walloping good read in the great American literary tradition. I liked An Object of Beauty so much that it is actually BookPage's top pick for the month of December! For more gushing, you can read my full review online here. I compare it to The Great Gatsby, and not in a hyperbolic way. This is one 2010 book that you do not want to miss out on!
14th December
2009
written by Steph
I know, I know, the wretched movie tie-in cover... but it's the copy I read (because it was cheap)!

I know, I know, the wretched movie tie-in cover... but it's the copy I read (because it was cheap)!

Due to a dismal turn-out at my real-life book club last month, I was selected as “She Who Will Choose Next Month’s Book”.  I always agonize over potential choices when it comes my time to choose, because few people in my book club are as voracious readers as I am.  I worry that many of my picks will be too challenging for many of them (not that they aren’t all smart ladies, just that I’m not entirely certain what many of them tend to pick on the “reading to relax” front) or too long (for a while we had a “no books longer than 300 pages” rule, which I thought was foolish).  I wanted to pick books that the rest of my group would be excited about but that would also promote good discussion; in the past I’ve picked Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and The Road by Cormac McCarthy.   This time I decided to shake things up and pick books that have been turned into movies, hoping that the prospect of getting to watch a film at our round-up would entice more people to actually read the book and attend the meeting!  I pitched three options and everyone voted, and in the end, Revolutionary Road nearly unanimously beat out In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Euginides. I went into the novel not knowing much about it, but I doubt many of you are in the same boat – this book has found a good deal of prominence in the book blogosphere, so it’s actually quite remarkable I went in as unspoiled as I did.  I pretty much just though it would be about a young couple’s marriage that was somehow sad/depressing, but that’s it!  Come to think of it, that’s actually a pretty good synopsis… 😉  For those of you looking for a bit more, the basic narrative thrust behind the novel is that the Wheelers, Frank & April, are a young married couple who had kids seven-years too early and have consequently moved to the suburbs in an attempt to embody the good old-fashioned American family.  Both Frank & April find suburbia rather oppressive and deadening, and the strain of the mundane is beginning to fracture their marriage that gets unhappier by the day.  Frank & April need to do something quickly in order to save their marriage and possibly reclaim a little joie de vivre as well.  Whether their best laid plans actually come to fruition, well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out! (more…)
12th February
2009
written by Steph

In honor of February being Black History month, I decided to read my first Toni Morrison novel.  I knew very little about her or her writing going into this, as the most salient trivia I had catalogued on her was that she had been featured multiple times in Oprah’s book club.  Let’s not hold that against her though, as she’s also been awarded the Nobel prize for Literature.  Also, I’m secure enough in my reading habits to admit that the real reason I picked this up at the used bookstore is because President Obama named it as one of his favorite books.  Ostensibly Beloved is Morrison’s best known book, but since Obama picked this one, so too did I.  What is it about all these O named people and their huge sway on reading habits? (more…)