literature

Summer’s Quick List

Looking for a good summer read? I’ll be posting regular updates and quick reviews of the books I read this summer. Those of you who know me know I burn through books like it’s my job. Here is what I have read these past two weeks, out of five stars:

Dreamland, by Kevin Baker: ****

    Atmospheric writing, well-woven storylines, and a main character named Esther. ;) Plus, the setting is Coney Island’s heyday in the early 20th century, which practically screams summer…you can almost smell the corndogs frying.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence: ***

Yes, it’s considered a classic. But reading about the stilted, suffocating life of the English countryside just feels wrong at the beach. All the talk of sexuality in the novel–its limits, freedoms, and power–feels a little antiquated in today’s era.

The Magician’s Assistant, by Ann Patchett: ***

Traces the life of, you guessed it, a magician’s assistant who was also married to said homosexual magician. Toggling back and forth between Los Angeles and Nebraska, the novel explores the relationship deftly enough, but sometimes gets caught up in its own melodramatic lines.

Talk, Talk, by T.C. Boyle:  ****1/2

I am a huge T.C. Boyle fan, especially of his novel The Women. This one had a unique pace that was refreshing–frenetic yet anticipatory, so that the reader could feel the tension building as the deaf protagonist takes on the con man who ruined her life. Boyle does a nice job of telling the story from multiple angles, and avoids building the sympathy too heavily on one side or another. In fact, I was left almost (almost) rooting for the villain, even though he was clearly, well, a villain.

Next up, I’m reading 22 Britannia Road, by Amanda Hodgkinson. I have a soft spot for war novels.

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