Tuesday, December 8, 2015

fall reading list

Still not back up to my usual reading habits but at least I have three books this past quarter instead of just one.

The Familiar, Volume 1: One Rainy Day In May by Mark Z. Danielewski - Believe it or not, I finished it. 839 (numbered) pages (there was a whole section of un-numbered pages), of what I'm not exactly sure. 9 story lines, each story line in a different font, of which some, I'm pretty sure, were only visited once, some twice, a few several times. The main story line concerns Zander, a 14 year old geeky gawky mis-matched (her eyes are different colors) curious epileptic girl whose father has died in the previous year, her mother who finally finished her dissertation and is afraid to look at the results, and her stepfather who dotes on her and who is part of a team that is developing a computer game they are trying to sell and her parents decision to get a special dog for Zander, an Akita that is going to cost several thousand dollars, to help...her epilepsy, her grief over her father's death? Maybe both. The entire book with all its font changes and type size changes and crazy layouts and different story lines and its writing style that puts down every thought unsaid and the ridiculous use of parentheses instead of commas all takes place in one day. Presumably the same day in all story lines. Let me save you the trouble. The main story line...after a long day out in the rain with her stepfather, on the way to finally pick up the Akita, Zander jumps out of the car to rescue a 2 week old kitten that is drowning. Zander insists they take the kitten to the vet immediately, dog forgotten. The mother, who really wanted the dog, did not pass her dissertation, the sale of the stepfather's game didn't go through so now they can't afford the dog anyway, and we don't even know if they kitten lives. This is supposed to be the first of 27 volumes and if it, in fact, is, I won't be reading any of them. If you happen to see it in the library or in a book store, pick it up, flip through it, marvel at my determination or stupidity, and then put it back down.

A God In Ruins by Kate Atkinson – This book is a companion piece, rather than a sequel, to her book Life After Life which I thoroughly enjoyed. It took me two tries to read this one but not because it was a hard read so much as because I just haven't been able to settle down and read since the puppy showed up. Or really before that I guess. And I'm not really sure what the title has to do with the story except that it is one of many literary quotes throughout the novel. Anyway, this book is about Teddy, Ursula's (from Life After Life) younger brother who becomes a bomber pilot during WWII, a fatal occupation as most pilots and their crews died, many not even making it back from their first mission. In this timeline, Teddy survives and the story jumps back and forth from his life in the present to different times in his past and we eventually get the whole story of his life and that of his wife, daughter (who is a thoroughly unlikable person), and his two grandkids. At the end, Teddy is dying from old age with his granddaughter in attendance and just as he takes his last breath and exhales...well, you'll have to read it.

Rock With Wings by Anne Hillerman – Tony Hillerman's daughter is carrying on her father's characters and locale and this is her second book featuring Bernadette Manuelito and Jim Chee, officers in the Navaho Nation Police Force. Bernie and Jim are taking a rare week off to visit Chee's cousin and help him get his new tour business off to a good start when Bernie gets a call from a neighbor to tell her that her sister, who lives with and helps care for their mother, didn't come home last night so Bernie returns to take care of things at home and since she is there she continues to investigate a case connected to a man she stopped during a drug dragnet. He didn't have any drugs but he did have two boxes of dirt and an illegal rifle and tried to bribe her into letting him go. The FBI took over the case and refuses to share any information. In the meantime, Chee has accepted a temporary job with the local station there where his cousin lives looking for a lost woman from a movie production on the reservation and when he finds her, they stumble on a fresh grave. Chee is asked to clear that up before returning home to Bernie and his regular post. Anne does a good job with the characters and carrying on her father's legacy.


  1. Just finished Sailor Song by Ken Kessey and working on a Jimmy Buffet book, his newest.Kessey has an amazing draw to me with his style and humor.

  2. I'm ashamed to admit I haven't read any fiction in ages. Must make more time for reading.

  3. Ooh that's mean with that Atkinson teaser - I'm going to have to read it now :) I like her work anyway.

  4. We have a couple of Danielewski's books in the library and they look thoroughly bizarre. I'm not really tempted.

    I'm reading a biography of Diane Arbus which is fascinating!


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