Saturday, March 10, 2007

Reading this week 3/10

David Kamp -- The United States of Arugula.

I feel like everyone has been talking about this book, but I didn't end up being all that impressed with it. I've been trying to articulate why, but I'm not really sure. Perhaps because I'm not enough of a foodie to know all the big name chefs he talks about? Or maybe just because I don't actually tend to enjoy nonfiction books all that much to begin with? I'm much more of a fiction and poetry reader. I think I was just expecting it to be more exciting in some way, with all the buzz. Not a terrible read, but it's not a favorite, either.

Dora Mary Russell -- The Sparrow

Now this one is a new favorite. It's about a group of people who are the first to encounter a new alien race adn the tragedy that ensues. The description on the back didn't catch my attention at first, but a friend had recommended the book a few years back. Then, just recently, I saw it on a staff favorite display at Copperfield's Books and finally decided I should check it out. I read the first chapter or so, wasn't caught by it, and put it down. But then I tried again a few days later and I'm so glad I did. Russell's writing is lovely, and the characters felt like real people , people that I would love to have as a part of my own life. My heart absolutely ached for the main character, Emilio. I also found the structure of the book really compelling. You know from the first page that the expedition to this new planet has ended in tragedy, only one survivor who is all-but-incapacitated both physically and mentally. Russell then does a great job balancing scenes from the planet with scenes from the present of the book to slowly reveal the story.

Ray Bradbury -- Farenheit 451.

Somehow I've never read this book before, which isn't all that common for me and 20th century classics. I'm not quite done with it, and I've liked it a little less as I've read farther into it, but the first section grabbed me immediately. Bradbury really is a wonderful writer. I'll write more about this book when I actually finish it.

Also dabbled a bit this week with some ee cummings poetry, another Plath biography, and the usual tourist books about the Bay Area.

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