Join Date: May 2003
I've been reading a bit too.
Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife was pure genius, and the best book I have read in a long time. I like how it's laid out very cleverly, heartbreaking, yet not sentimental. It gets under your skin, somehow. Very strong writing. Forgive the first fifth of the book - getting your mind around the time travel thing takes a little while. It's well worth it, though.
The above book was marketed as "the new Lovely Bones," and since I enjoyed it so much, I thought, what the hell, I'll read some Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold). I love three-for-two sales at Waterstone's.
I took a lot longer to start feeling for the main characters in this one, which seems strange, as one of the first things to happen is the gruesome murder of a 13-year-old girl (don't get angry, this isn't a spoiler, it's part of the premise the book starts out on). This girl goes to heaven, and the concept of heaven is worked out in a very novel, strangely reassuring way. The only link between the books, to me, is this non-linear use of space (and time, to a greater extent in Niffenegger).
It is a charming book, though, but I think Lovely Bones should be retrospectively happy with The Time Traveler's Wife's advertising, not the other way around. Looks like it's going to be made into a movie, and little Saoirse Ronan from Atonement will play Susie. Given that there's some more awesome casting going on (Rachel Weisz as Ocean Eyes, I can totally see that; Susan Sarandon as crazy Grandma Lynn - I have been waiting for that all my life), I'm looking forward to watching that.
Since Lovely Bones, I've started The Book of Dave by Will Self, which has tremendous potential to be both a mirror to society and incredibly funny. I wouldn't know, though, because I was put off by the Clockwork Orange style non-words. I realise that this is part of the point, that we should be so defamiliarised to understand the differences between the world now, in which the book of Dave was presumably written, and the society it is found in, but my God did it give me the shits. I thought that, since I now speak English with reasonable fluency, I could stop reading books in the language by giving myself RSI from flicking back and forth between the glossary and the story. ANNOYING.
So, I've put that to one side for the moment, and picked up The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This book was recommended to me by a friend in Australia more than a year ago, and I still hadn't picked it up. It's always jumped out at me in bookshops, though, and there were sales on, so here I am, finally reading it. I love the way the story is told, I love the interjection of facts, I love the time it's set in, I love the characters - in short, I really like this book. It doesn't grab you as much as the Time Traveler's Wife does, but I'm only about a third in at this stage, and enjoying it a lot.
Also, yay for Pride & Prejudice. Not quite as big a yay for the Bruno Bettelheim. Psychoanalysis, as it's used in literary criticism, is a pile of shit. Fact. I had to write a paper analysing Rapunzel once, and basically, you twist and turn until everyone looks like a pervert and get a top grade. It is laughable.