I confess, I haven’t been very enthused about the books I’ve read recently. It’s been pretty disappointing for me, as I always like to have a book in progress. There were a few books that I was especially excited about this fall, and a few just didn’t work for me.
First up was “The Night Circus” by Julie Morgenstern. I don’t know why it didn’t hold my interest, but I just couldn’t stick with it. A story of two young people who have magical powers and become part of a mysterious circus that only appears at night, it sounded like something I would enjoy – a little bit of fantasy, circus animals, and a big sprawling story that traveled around the world. Unfortunately, I didn’t get it. So I sold it on Amazon (a great idea for people who buy books but don’t necessarily want to keep them) and moved on.
The last time I blogged about books I mentioned that I was reading “What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty. I liked this book a lot. The story of a woman who loses her memory of the previous 10 years after a fall at her health club, it raised some interesting questions: What would life be like if the last 10 years had never happened? For Alice, there was so much that had changed in the 10 year period. It’s a good story with thought-provoking ideas.
Next, I was so excited to read Alice Hoffman’s most recent book, “The Dovekeepers.” I adore Alice Hoffman’s books, and I’ve read every one of them since “Seventh Heaven,” which was published in 1990. You can’t imagine how upset I was when, after about 100 pages of “The Dovekeepers,” I had to stop reading. In the book, Hoffman tells the story of Masada through the eyes of various women and how they came to be there during the time of the Roman invasions. If I said it was a dreary and depressing book, that would be an understatement. Nothing good happened at all, and I mean nothing, in the pages I managed to get through. It was one tragedy after another. I can only hope that her next book takes us back to her world of magical realism and interesting, odd people who usually populate her stories.
I can, however, wholeheartedly recommend “The Marriage Plot’ by Jeffrey Eugenides. How many books are there that combine 19th century British Literature, Christianity, the study of yeast reproduction, mental illness, suburban angst, 1980’s music and semiotics? Not to mention the characters are fully formed, and, though a bit too self-indulgent and stereotypical, pretty interesting. I was completely absorbed from beginning to end. It’s very wordy and super-intellectualized, but if you can get past the discussions of Nietsche and Jane Austen, you’ll be ok. I’m looking forward to discussing this book with my book group – it should generate some lively conversation!
“11/22/63” by Stephen King: My first Stephen King book ever – but I’m a sucker for time travel!
“Then Again,” a memoir by Diane Keaton
“Come Back to Me” by Melissa Foster
“Ed King” by David Guterson