Thursday, October 30, 2014

Works in Progress

I am reading so many, many books right now, most of them really enjoyable.  But it means I haven't finished anything in a while, so here are a few opinions-in-progress.

I'm reading Sayed Kashua's Second Person Singular for book club, and I hated the beginning and am enjoying it a bit more now.  I think the key problem is that I hated the protagonist for the first part.  God, I don't think I've ever hated someone for being bourgeoisie before, but there it is.  And I keep in mind that it's another country--the book is about Arabs living in Israel--and there's a lot going on, but I think that a combination of not fully grasping a very complex culture and the fact that yeah, this first character's kind of a casually misogynistic, materialistic yuppie jerk and yeah, I hated it.

Part two has a different narrator, which also has its moments of discomfort, but which so far is much more likeable.  So I hold out hope for the book.  But I have to say, books that are about and from the point of view of men that are about how women, acting like women, mess up their lives--I'm sorry, but I'm just done with it.

Because of book club, I'm spending the most time on that one, but there are some other serious winners pulling me this way and that.  The Walled City, by Ryan Graudin, is an ARC that I got, and I'll have a real review when I get more than halfway through it, but it's really great.  It's got the feel of fantasy--urchins living in the poor part of the city trying to find what they need--a better life, freedom, family.

Only, I don't think it's fantasy.  The "real world" outside their poor enclave is, I think, the modern world.  There's no magic.  It's just a story of poverty and bravery and harsh conditions, and connections and all kinds of other great things.

I also just got Being Mortal from the library, which is Atul Gawande's newest book about the place of medicine in society and life.  Better and Complications are both excellent books that I highly recommend (as is The Checklist Manifesto, which is small and mostly a manifesto but compelling!), and I've only just started this but I can already tell that it has that soothing, logical, human touch that makes Atul Gawande's writing such a pleasure to read. 

What else?  So much.  So, so much.  Another ARC, this one of short stories by Kelly Link called Get in Trouble.  As not-really-a-short-story-reader, I'll say that it's pretty great.  Two audiobooks--because the excellent performance of Sarah Waters' The Paying Guests was killing me with the tension, so I switched over to a YA fantasy that I was only half interested in but that keeps coming up, BirthmarkedIt's fine--not great, maybe not even very good, but fine.  I mean--I don't know.  It's probably the weakest one on the docket right now.

All very exciting.  In other news, I think November is going to be following the two posts per week schedule that I followed this week--Tuesday/Thursday--so that I can keep up with NaNoWriMo.  I might have little update posts in between (heck, my real posts might be all about NaNo!), but I'd like to try to blog at least a little along the way.

Plus, I'm already so backed up on books I'm INCREDIBLY! EXCITED! TO READ! that I'm going to need to post those really soon.  Because the notion that I might forget to squirm with excitement about reading more Miles Vorkosigan books causes me genuine bouts of anxiety!

Happy Halloween!

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