A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Cathedral by Raymond Carver
Funny Business: Conversations With Writers of Comedyby Leonard Marcus
Eat, Memory edited by Amanda Hesser
Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink edited by David Remnick
The Paris Review Interviews vol. IV edited by Philip Gourevitch
Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman
Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney
The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger (re-read)
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Mating Season by P. G. Wodehouse
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Time Was Soft There by Jeremy Mercer
Funny Business: Conversations With Writers of Comedy by Leonard S. Marcus
Previously reviewed: Time Was Soft There.
I re-read Franny and Zooey for book club. I didn’t think it was going to be possible, but it was even more spectacular the second time. I’m happy that the other members love Salinger as much as I do, and want to re-read his other books for book group as well. Also, even upon a second reading, my favorite line remains:
Lane spotted her immediately, and despite whatever it was he was trying to do with his face, his arm that shot up into the air was the whole truth.”
I’ve been meaning to post about The Magicians for a while now. I haven’t yet because I didn’t really like it and the thought of writing a whole post about it never seemed that appealing. The novel seemed to drag quite a bit, but it mainly came down to the reason I’ve come up with for most novels that I don’t like: I didn’t like the characters. I can get through just about anything happily if I care about the characters, most crucially the main character. The only character I remotely liked was Alice, but thought she was underdeveloped. Also, there was a piece of the plot that was unresolved, which bothered me.
One of the best things about the universe must be that P. G. Wodehouse wrote so many books while he was alive. Whenever I need a dose of awesome, I read one of his novels. The Mating Season, like every other Wodehouse novel I’ve encountered, did not disappoint. Here are a few of my favorite lines:
He shimmered out, and I subjected Catsmeat to a keen glance. I am told by those who know that there are six varieties of hangover – the Broken Compass, the Sewing Machine, the Comet, the Atomic, the Cement Mixer and the Gremlin Boogie, and his manner suggested that he had got them all.”
“What with one thing and another, singing a bit too much in the bath and so on, I was about five minutes behind scheduled time in reaching the post office, and when I got there I found Gussie already at the tryst.”
I had never read Ethan Frome before, and I’m not sure why someone didn’t find out and whack me over the head. This is a fantastic book, and it’s so short that there’s really no excuse for not reading it. I enjoyed every aspect of this tidy little classic, but I think what I appreciated most right away was that it felt so much like a dark Gothic tale. The beginning reminded me somewhat of Wuthering Heights – the fact that the person who finds out the story and is able to tell the tale is someone who is unrelated to and not present in the events of the plot. Instantly when I started reading it I was transported into a different world: the world of a great story. I could tell I was in good hands, and I settled in for the adventure. It’s hard to describe how a good novel transports you into another place and state of mind, but it’s wonderful when it happens.
I’m planning on doing a full post about Funny Business by Leonard S. Marcus, because it’s a unique book that deserves some more attention.
Also… Funny Business was the 100th book I’ve read this year, so I’ve officially hit my goal. :)