love book coverI've been reading a lot of fiction over the past few weeks, which has been really nice. I started by picking up Toni Morrison's latest offering, Love (Knopf, October 28, 2003), which I really liked. I'm not generally a huge Morrison fan (I liked Paradise a lot, as well as The Bluest Eye but most of the books she wrote in between the two didn't do too much for me), but Love was a good read. Intense, the way all her books are, but not particularly confusing and not as irritatingly overt as some of her other work. I'd recommend it.

After I finished Love (in a couple of nights, it really is quick), I started Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace (Nan A. Talese, November 1, 1996). Atwood is another one I've never really been able to get into. Everybody loves The Handmaid's Tale, but I found it fairly irritating. And Alias Grace was even worse. Or at least started out that way. To be perfectly honest, I put it down about 50 pages in and haven't picked it back up.

Tattoo Artist book coverThen, on the plane home, I read Jill Ciment's The Tattoo Artist (Pantheon, August 23, 2005), which I picked up at the library based solely on the title and on Howard Zinn's back-cover rave. It was pretty good, but not exceptional. The subject matter--a Bohemian New York artist getting stuck on a Polynesian island for 30 years, "going native" and becoming a tattoo artist--is certainly interesting, but the narrative itself didn't do a whole lot for me. It had its moments, though, and was certainly worth reading.

Queen of Dreams book coverLast night I finished Chitra Divakaruni's Queen of Dreams (Doubleday, September 14, 2004). Divakaruni is an Indian-American author my friend The Princess turned me on to a couple of years ago, when she lent me Mistress of Spices and gave me a copy of Sister of my Heart for my birthday. Of the three, I liked Queen of Dreams, the most recent, the best. It's a little more accessible/believable to a Westerner than Mistress of Spices, and a little more interesting than Sister of My Heart. It could be that I liked it better because it is set in the States, rather than in India, but I think there's more to it than that. It didn't seem to be trying as hard as the earlier books. After reading it, I'm a bit more convinced of Divakurani's talent of her own right, and will probably stop calling her a rip off of Bharati Mukherjee.

Good Women book coverAnd now I need something new to read. I picked up Jane Stevenson's three novella book, Good Women (Mariner Books, January 6, 2006) last night, but the first couple of chapters really irritated me, so I don't know if I'll finish it. I recently scored used copies of Vanity Fair and Jane Austen'sPersuasion, neither of which I've read, so maybe I'll try one of those. Other ideas are very welcome in the comments.

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I loooove Persuasion. It's my favourite Jane Austen novel, because there's so much more subtle malice in it than any of the others, and there's nothing I like more than malice. :) I'm not crazy about Margaret Atwood either. The only one of her books I really like is Cat's Eye, which I think every woman who was bullied as a pre-teen girl should read. It's a tiny bit triggering, but it helped me make sense of a lot of the crap I went through as a child. And I just started Vanity Fair too! I saw the movie with Reese Witherspoon recently, and fell in love with it. I can't believe I'd never read the book before. It's fabulous!!

Here's a book I really liked. It's lighter than the stuff you're reading lately, though: http://yummywc.blogspot.com/2006/02/i-really-liked-this-book.html I just finishe "To Kill A Mockingbird", which I liked a lot, and I'm getting into "In Cold Blood". Both spurred by a viewing of "Capote". :-)

Ok, so I'm not sure you and I have ever agreed on a book, but since I've been reading recently, I thought I'd share. 1. When All is Said and Done (auth Robert Hill) 2. Apathy and Other Small Victories (auth Paul Neilan) 3. Flashman (auth George MacDonald Fraser) But who has time to read, these days? Aren't we all busy fighting terrorism? Shouldn't novels and books be banished, sent back to the decadent, mollycoddling Europeans?

That's funny, I found Queen of Dreams rather shallow.

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