Sunday, February 19, 2006

Brokenest of Hearts

Sorry for the long delay in posting--Blogger's been a pain this week, and work has been (gasp!) busy. But let me tell you of yesterday's tragedy.

A few weeks ago, I bought a boxed set of His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. I've been so excited to start it, but busy. Finally, for the past week, I've made it my before bed book. Such fun! And Saturday morning, just at the part where Lyra has been caught in Bolvangar and is going to be severed from Pantalaimon, I discover...missing pages!

Yes, the signature containing chapters 15 and 16 appears twice, while the sig containing chapters 17 and 18 is entirely missing.


Tomorrow I'm going to head back to Barnes and Nobel to see if I can get a replacement that doesn't have the problem. I hope! Thank heaven we live in our own filth, and I hadn't thrown away the bag with the receipt in it.

In other news, I finished listening to Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz. It wasn't bad, but I don't think I'd recommend it. The shape of the story was just kind of strange. I wouldn't say I'd have liked it better if I'd been reading it (Blair Brown's reading was excellent), but I think that not knowing how far along in the story I was really affected my understanding of what was going to happen. There was a chunk in the middle where I thought I was approaching the end, but was actually approaching the halfway point. I guess the middle lags, is the problem. The crisis/semi-mystery is set up at the beginning, and then the middle is spent establishing a life for these people. The events of that life come to a head fifteen years later, but going from Ruth's five-year-old life to her eighteen-year-old life is a little choppy. At the point where her father ceases to be useful, he conveniently becomes a merchant marine. Well handled, but, again, convenient.

I think it was a middle-of-the road, reasonably good book.

The Age of Innocence is quite good. I'm curious about a lot of the euphemisms and generalizations that Newland uses--what "life experiences" is he missing, what "dangerous knowledge" is kept from his naive fiancee? I'm not even sure he knows. But I think that if I were to actually see the society he lives in, I would be startled by the restraint and boredom. I think Wharton does an excellent job, in his character, of examining his world as both an insider and an outsider. He loves it, but can see its flaws, and feels constrained by it and supported by it at the same time.

I need a copy of The Golden Compass right now!


Charlie said...

I just found your blog and I really like your style: thoughtful and laid-back, as opposed to in-your-face "It's GREAT/It STINKS."

It is also nice to find someone who uses the library for more than sleeping and romance novels; it irks me that our library buys mass-market romance novels with hard cover library bindings, but they do not have one copy of The Swallows of Kabul.

Uh, is this considered in your face? Sorry . . .

Anonymous said...

Missing sigs in a book--those damn publishers! For the price we pay for books, you'd think they could make sure we get all the pages!! ;-o Kathy

LibraryHungry said...


This is why I'm so luck to work three blocks from the main branch of the Boston Public Library. They have 15 copies of Swallows.

I'm glad you like my blog! I feel like I read a lot of things that I don't fall in love with, but that I admire greatly. It's a good way to feed my obsession!