Sunday, September 07, 2008

Books, Books, Books

A good friend, K., is doing this 50-books-in-a-year thing, and I was immediately like, ooooh I wanna do that too (cause I'm a big copycat...) and I was going to just start from June, which is when I started reading a bunch of stuff again in a consistent way.

But then I kept putting off the list because I didn't want to backtrack and do reviews for a bunch of books I'd read a few weeks prior, and then I decided, screw it. I'm just going to do it without real reviews, because it's a good exercise no matter what to keep track of the list, push myself to complete the 50 books, and maybe along the line if I'm feeling motivated, I can just arbitrarily do a review or two.

(I only wish Vogue counted. It's 798 pages! And The New Yorker... that thing can be dense! Huffff...)

So, here it is:

1) The Bostonians, Henry James - This took me foreeeeever to finish because James is so damn wordy, and I was only reading a few pages per sitting while I killed other easy books, but I finished it when I moved back, and I did enjoy the read. It very thoughtfully and cleverly explores all sides of the feminist movement of the 19th century. I have no interest in seeing the old movie version, however.

2) A Drink Before the War, Dennis Lehane - This is the first of Lehane's mystery/detective novel series. Not typically my genre, but I fell for him after reading Mystic River for a class in college, and then reading Shutter Island on my own. (Read both of those books, by the way!) I was a little disappointed by the beach-reading ease of this book, but I knew Mystic River hadn't come out of nowhere, so I waited and hoped to see his skills develop in later novels.

3) Darkness, Take My Hand, Dennis Lehane - The second novel of the series, still basically the same tone, but as I learn the characters they're growing on me. The main guy has kind of the self-deprecating, quick-witted tone of DeMille protagonists.

4) Sacred, Dennis Lehane - Enoyable, same few-hours-read kind of deal. I do, by the way, recommend the series just to kick back and enjoy. I don't mean to put it down in any way. It was, after all, summer reading--often consumed next to a pool.

5) Gone, Baby, Gone, Dennis Lehane - At first I hadn't known that this novel by him was a part of the series, thinking it was another stand alone. Realizing that the movie characters I'd seen were actually the ones I'd been reading about was very interesting. I also wondered why this of all his novels was chosen for a film, but as I began reading it I immediately noticed a change of tone, a little more exploration into descriptiveness and poetic writing than in previous novels. I think this is where he really hits his stride as an author. And now I'm looking forward to re-watching the movie.

6) Prayers for Rain, Dennis Lehane - The one thing I didn't like as much about this book was that it veered a bit more toward the vigilante side than I wanted it to. The detectives are usually assigned to cases and go above and beyond the call of duty, but in this novel the lead character is going above and beyond the call of duty just for justice, not as part of any assignment. Also, I really hate the will they/won't they drama of the two main chars' love life because it... basically is nonexistent. They break up and get back together with little fanfare, to the point where I'm almost disinterested. We know they're gonna get back together, yeah, that's the nature of the beast, but when it happens I'd still like to... care? This is also the last in the series so far, and it was printed in 1999, and then MR was a few years later, and SI shortly after that. But this doesn't really sit well as the end of a series, so I'd like at least one more to close it off before, you know, it's been a DECADE since we've heard from these guys. It's not very loyal to the readers, y'know? I just started these this summer but I can't imagine what loyal fans from the 1990's are thinking.

And now I'm starting The Picture of Dorian Gray, which no, I have not read before (and yet studied and referenced in at least 2 classes). So sue me.

And after that I have to go to the library because I am out of books! (Well, I have plenty new books but they're in storage right now.)

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