Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Hello Kathy

Just to bug Kathy, this entry is all about her.

First, Jodi Picoult. Kathy recommended her, and for someone I've never read, a whole bunch of her books are suddenly on my "To Read" list. This is partly because, looking at the Amazon descriptions, half of them look interesting, and half of them sort of don't; I think that the family dramas sound less interesting than the more complex stories. They sound like they all center a bit around court battles and family issues. I've picked My Sister's Keeper, about a girl who was conceived as a bone marrow donor for her sister and sues her parents for medical emancipation, The Pact, about two teenagers who appear to have had a suicide pact, though only one of them is dead, and Plain Truth, as it is about Amish. I have a thing for Amish in the same way I have a thing for nuns.

Which, by the way, Kathy, I would like to specifically recommend The Nun's Story to you. I don't know if nuns are up your alley, but this book has the rich description and mediation coupled with a pretty engaging plot that I think would make it a recommendation. Also, just about my favorite book. It's by Kathryn Hulme--check it out.

Kathy is also the one who pointed out something that I was just beginning to notice about the book I’m reading, which she just finished. Before You Know Kindness, by Chris Bohjalian. I’ve decided he’s hit or miss. The Midwives was wonderful, and The Law of Similars was worth reading. But this book just drags and drags. I can only handle so many pages of closely observed family life and character studies, touched with some very heavy-handed characterization (he’s vegan, no one understands why. I get it.) before I start to wonder when the plot described on the flap is going to start. And it sounds like the answer is: it doesn’t exactly start--it happens, suddenly, about a third of the way through the book, and then the rest of the book is closely observed family life and character study in the aftermath of this information. I’m not convinced I’m going to finish this book; life’s too short.

That is all for now, I suppose. In conclusion, hi Kathy!


Anonymous said...

Gee, I feel like, so wicked honored! I happened to hear Jodi Picoult give a reading before having read any of her books (a friend brought me who had already read and loved most of her works). I was extremely impressed with the thorough research she did on each of her books. She's a young mother, maybe 30ish (it bugged me that I thought she looked younger than me, I've got to get used to this!!), and she took the time to go live with the Amish, go out with a bunch of ghostbusters (for Second Glance), and one of her children was extremely ill and I get the feeling that spurred Sister's Keeper. Anyway, she gives a really good talk with lots of funny antidotes about her experiences and reactions when she approaches people and says "I want to learn about everything you do." Kathy

Anonymous said...

Hey, as a Jodi Piccoult fan, I feel I should warn you that I think My Sister's Keeper is one of her best, and most of her other novels will pale in comparison. There is one thing in the book that I thought detracted a little from the strength of the story, but I won't comment further as you haven't read it yet. Second Glance is different than many of her others, and I liked it a lot--once I got past all the abrupt character/speaker changes in the beginning.
Her research clearly shines through and enhances her novels greatly. Hope you like Jodi.
Jane, a friend of Kathy