Monday, November 23, 2009

What I'm reading on Monday: Nov. 23

Finished: "Here, There be Dragons" by James A. Owen. My daughter and I listened to most of this novel as we were driving to and from Mobile, Ala., Nov. 14; I then finished listening to it last week. This intentionally derivative yarn mashes together "Lord of the Rings," Narnia, Peter Pan and other fantasies I probably haven't read yet into an agreeable journey of discovery for C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams. My daughter cracked up at all the references (the take on "Speak Friend and Enter" is particularly hilarious), but I wonder if Owen really found his own voice here. Also, the undergirding philosophical matrix of the novel doesn't seem to jive very closely to Christianity as experienced by the authors; either Owen is reinventing these great fantasy authors in a non-Christian setting, or I missed the point. I don't think we're intended to think all that deeply about the Archipelago of Dreams. Anyway, I probably will read the other three books. This was recommended by a blog, BTW.

During this week, my reading was decidedly unfocused. I've started way too many books, making headway on all but finishing none. Here they are:

The Good Life: Still reading the 2006 Jay McInerney novel about 9/11 and its aftermath. As I mentioned before, the book exhibits his strengths and weaknesses, but I'll have more to say once I finish it. At one point, he recapitulates the plot of "Brightness Falls," and I was surprised at how much of it I remember, since I read it sometime in the early 1990s.

Once the Shore: I've read about 1 1/2 of Paul Yoon's short stories collection, and so far, so good. I should finish this one over Thanksgiving, too.

Googled: Ken Auletta's book is much more focused on the business aspects of Google (and some fairly uninteresting biographical summaries of the participants) than on the change Google wrought on the ways we look for and process information. (Yes, she went to Harvard; whatever.) Also, the prose is kind of flat.

Listening to: Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen. The narrators are trying to "act" the text a lot more than they should, and the actor reading the introductory part, set in a nursing home, used a voice so gravelly it irritated my throat. So far, so good, although I stopped dead during an unending description of a striptease in a circus sideshow (the novel's about a circus).


Anonymous said...

I saw on the post above this one that you are joining the 2010 reading challenge. I'm really considering doing that one too!

Bluestocking said...

I love Here, There Be Dragons. The fourth book came out a few weeks ago. It was really good.

Here is mine

Jennifer said...

I too am doing the 2010 reading challenge. You book selections sound very interesting. Happy reading and happy Thanksgiving. My Monday:

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