Tuesday, February 01, 2005

I have been reading! This weekend I had more than two hours both Saturday and Sunday. Then last night Ken had to go out to a job, and I had another two hours.

I finished Lip Service (it's good, although the climax came too early, leaving the ending a bit of a fizzle.) Even so, it was an exciting read. I picked up many books on Saturday, and again on Monday, so I have lots to sample and choose from now.

I selected Cynthia Ozick's Heir to the Glimmering World, which is what I would call an odd story with odd characters. The writing is exquisite, which is what has pulled me along and kept me rapt. During the depression, eighteen-year-old Rose must fend for herself, which, for most young people her age, is an insurmountable obstacle. Yet Rose finds a job as an assistant to a professor of religion. He and his family have recently fled Nazi Germany and have very little money, except for the help they receive from James, an author's son, who has been immortalized in his father's famous children's books. (Think Christopher Robin all grown up.) James provides most of the provocative action. I'm nearing the end and everything about the book still seems strange, but I'm enjoying it nonetheless.

Last night I fell into reading Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. It's a tale of teenage bewilderment set in a posh New England boarding school. Sittenfeld attended Groton School in Groton, Massachusetts, and the school in Prep resembles it. Of course. I was attracted to the book because I've been hearing about it and wondered if it could possibly be any good. I stuck my toes in last night and didn't go near Heir to the Glimmering World because I couldn't stop reading. So at this point all I can say is it's very readable. Let me spend more time before I pass judgment. There is also something about the atmosphere Sittenfeld creates that's reminiscent of The Secret History by Dona Tartt. By the way, the reviews I've seen so far just don't describe the book at all well. I've read the one in the New York Times and a few others, and they're cutesy. I hate it when reviewers bend over backwards to be cute and forget to critique the book.


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