April 16, 2012

Library Haul

I scored at the library last week with several books I've been wanting to read for awhile.  From the bottom up:

1. I actually just recently learned that Kate Atkinson has a new book out.  Started Early, Took My Dog is the fourth of her titles that features detective Jackson Brodie.  If I'd just read that last sentence, and didn't know anything about Atkinson's work, I would've immediately dismissed it, because I don't read mysteries. And I especially don't read mysteries that are part of a series, or feature a recurring protagonist.  (And yes, that means I've never read Agatha Christie. Shame on me.)   But Atkinson's books are different than the usual mass-market mysteries...her work is literary, character-driven, and very erudite in that British sort of way. I loved Case Histories, the first book that started this, um, series, and always recommend it to anyone craving a juicy good page turner.

2.  I've been a fan of Ann Patchett since her debut, The Patron Saint of Liars. She's a reliably solid writer, and her bestseller Bel Canto is just terrific...another book that I always recommend to serious readers.  Like Bel Canto, State of Wonder is also set in South America, but it's a less civilized setting, as it takes place in the Amazon.  A young researcher who works for a major drug company is sent to the jungle to gain facts about the sudden death of her colleague, who was himself on a fact-finding mission.  I started this one first, and it's already off to a terrific, absorbing start, with its very likeable and complicated protagonist, Marina Singh.

3.  Some people are really into reading Young Adult fiction these days (think, The Hunger Games and Twilight series, etc.)  I haven't read any of those, but I do like to occasionally dip into some good Children's lit.  It's not YA, because the books aren't really meant for readers over 14.  I'm a huge fan of Patricia Birdsall's Penderwicks series.  These are books to stash in your bike basket and read on a picnic, or any sunny day.  The Penderwicks at Pointe Mouette is the third in this series about four very different, but very close sisters and their likable widowed dad.  I'm hoping to introduce Lily to the first of the books this summer, but we'll see. She's still so geeked out on Harry Potter and the fantasy genre that she's a little resistant to plain old realism.

4.  And finally, Dan Chaon's Stay Awake, a collection of short stories. Okay, I admit this one wasn't on my must-read list, but I've read and liked Chaon's previous work. He's a great short story writer, and part of me picked the book out of guilt: I used to be such a huge fan of the short story. It's nearly all I ever read. But in the last five years, something's changed, and I've become much more resistant to reading them. I sadly suspect it's the level of attention required to read a the dense, poetic prose that usually accompanies short works.  But I'm giving this collection a shot, nevertheless. 

Oh, and that photo up there? That's one of my first-ever attempts using Instagram.  I downloaded Instagram onto my phone on the first day it became available for Droids a couple of weeks back.  But I haven't been using it much, because I'm a little resistant to the fact that it's really all supposed to be shared.  Hrrmmph.

And in another instance of feeling weird about social media and oversharing (but participating, anyway) I've created a Facebook page for Reading Nest.  I don't even know what to think about that.  I actually created a page a month ago and then deleted it, because it was linked to my personal/family account.  I dunno.  I have no idea what I'm doing, on that score. But anyway, if you enjoy my blog, show some love or comraderie and be the second or third person to "Like" me. The badge/link is over there on the right.  Thanks!

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