Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Way Behind

And believe it or not, I'm not way behind on books. Just on everything. This has been a heck of a day, and I sort of feel everything creeping up on me. The stuff that urgently needs to be done right NOW is getting in the way of all the things that really need to be planned ahead. Like, say, the ENTIRE FALL. Ugh.

Bookwise, I'm not in a much better headspace. I'm reading two very dense, difficult books, and one quickly read but somewhat personally challenging book. And I'm feeling the temptation of something delicious that's been offered.

Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell, is the current book club pick. Did I mention this? How the first sentence on the back cover is about his postmodern brilliance? And how the blurbs compare the author to Phil Dick, Nabokov, and I think Kurt Vonnegut? Isn't that a bit much? Anyway, there's nothing wrong with it, per se, but it's not exactly engaging. So far it reads like short stories--the sections are far apart in time, character, and intent. But if they were short stories, they would either be more subtle, or have more of a point. So I assume this is all going to come together somehow. Not sure I care.

Then there's Emergence, can't remember the author, too lazy to look. This is a YA sci fi book about a girl who's part of the next generation of humans, who are all supergeniuses and were immune to the bioterrorist attacks that wiped out the human race. It would actually be just pretty enjoyable, except that it's in the form of a journal written by someone who believes that almost all articles and pronouns are extraneous to language. It's readable, but slow, slow. It's good, the plot is driving me along, but really driving me--it's a carrot and whip situation, with her adventures being the carrot and the thought of spending all this time on a book I don't even finish being the whip. I know, I know, good time after bad. Still.

Then there's Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, by Ann Lamott. I don't like it as much as I liked her Travelling Mercies, and I think it's because the latter was, though essays, a coherent narrative about her discovery of her own spirituality. This is just sort of a jumble of essays about trying to be a good person and mostly being a touchy, cranky person who I probably wouldn't get along with, and hating George Bush. She's very sensitive. Still, she seems to know some things. This reminds me of Girl Meets God in some ways--in that she admits to being flawed and forgives herself immediately. But somehow it's not as offensive as that book was.

And now Michelle has lent me Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult, which I'd love to just read. And I have Messanger by Lois Lowry, which is YA and Lois Lowry and will be short and easy and pleasing. And it's hard not to turn away from these challenges, after a day like this. But I will persevere. I will finish Plan B, and then make Cloud Atlas my bedside book. And I'll find time for all these things, and not let my life beat me down. Fiction is good for that.

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