Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Books So Far

I've been doing quite a bit of reading so far this year, although my "read in 2009" shelf on goodreads.com wouldn't really indicate that. I've only finished two books, but I'm close to 700 pages in to Stephen King's The Stand. Throughout the year, I'll try to write brief reviews of all the books I read.

The first book I read this year was Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. This book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2003, and I'd heard lots of good things about it. When we were in California for Christmas, my sister-in-law recommended it to me, and she gave me her copy of the book. It was an interesting story. On one hand, it is the story of a hermaphrodite whose unique genetic makeup wasn't discovered until he was 14. On the other hand, in an effort to explain how Cal Stephanides ended up with this gene, the author takes the reader on a journey that spans more than 80 years of history. In that 80 year story, the reader is given a view of emigration, immigration, religion, culture, Prohibition, segregation, race riots, war, and other elements of the changing American society throughout the 1900s. I thought the story was unique, and I enjoyed the author's writing style. However, I had trouble getting into this book for some reason that I can't explain, so it took me a couple weeks to get through it.
The second book I read also included a journey undertaken to better understand the present by searching for the past. For our January meeting, the book club I've started going to decided to read The Invisible Circus by Jennifer Egan. It's the story of 18-year old Phoebe and her quest to discover the truth behind her older sister's death in Europe 8 years earlier. She takes a literal journey as she recreates her sister's trip by using the information in the post cards her sister had sent from various cities. I thought that this book had a really good concept, and yet I felt like the author didn't do nearly as much with it as she could. It seemed to me that she veered off into too many little tangents; she either should have cut the tangents out, or made them more profound or purposeful or something.

1 comment:

Kim & Ryan said...

It's so interesting that you had a hard time to get into Middle Sex. I couldn't put it down and finished it in 2 days. haha... what does it say about me that I was that enthralled?