Monday, August 31, 2015
summer book reviews
just to show you how many I could have read
Since the first of June, I have read one book.
And it took me nearly a month to read that one. What with the grandkid visits and my trip to Canada and then some work to attend to when I got back I just haven't had the time, energy, or inclination to read, especially with a new puppy demanding constant attention. I even returned Kate Atkinson's new book, which I had had for a good month, after only reading about 1/5th of it. I finally went to the library about 10 days ago hoping to find a good short read so that I would have at least two books this quarter.
So what did I come back with? An 839 page tome that weighs a fucking ton. I picked up The Familiar, vol. 1 by Mark Z. Danielewski. When I checked it out, the librarian told me 'good luck, I don't think anyone has finished it yet'. It is not a normal book so I did a search on it and found the NY Times book review of it. Sheesh. I couldn't even get through the review! And apparently this is the first volume of 27. I have lost my fucking mind.
OK, so here is the book I did read:
The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas - I finally finished The Kashmir Shawl. It took me the better part of a month I think. Not because it wasn't a good story. It is a good story and I would have enjoyed it more if I had had the time or inclination to sit down and read. Mair finds an exquisite hand woven pashmina shawl when she and her siblings go to close out the house after their father died. The shawl was handed down by Mair's grandmother and it, with a lock of hair and a photograph, sets Mair off on a quest to learn about the shawl and hopefully in the process, about her grandmother, married to her missionary husband, from Wales in Kashmir during WW2. The story is told two ways or two stories...from Mair's perspective in the present and from her grandmother, Nerys' perspective in the past. As Mair travels through Kashmir learning about where and how the shawl was made, Nerys' story unfolds there in the same places, the story of the women in the picture in the India of the British Raj during the years of WW2, the story of the shawl and the lock of hair, the story that Mair finally pieces together and her own journey.
Now that I have my one little review done, I thought I'd give you a peek at The Familiar. It is one main story line interspersed with short segments of other story lines and so far, all but one of these alternate story line segments have been different...sort of like channel surfing on TV while the commercials come on during the show you are actually watching. Spacing changes, type faces change, pages are inserted that have you going 'what the fuck?', I swear this guy makes up languages and slang as he goes along. I don't try to understand what I am reading, hoping instead to just glean understanding as I go along. Here are a few examples:
even has its own bookmark!
It's not actually as fearsome as it seems. I'm already on page 231, reading only about half an hour to an hour in the evenings. I don't know why I haven't taken it back. Maybe I just want to be able to say I was the first person in Wharton that actually read the whole thing. And maybe by the time I get to the end I'll even understand what it was about.