Reading Madness

I’ve been on a reading tear lately, reading so many books that I don’t have time to mention or discuss on the blog. Here’s some of what I’ve been reading:

  • I read both Augustus and Stoner by John E. Williams. They are very different books but both brilliant. Augustus is a masterful novel that brings Rome to life through a portrait of a legendary but lonely leader. Stoner portrays the quiet, sad life of a professor in the Midwest.
  • I loved The Glimmer Palace by Beatrice Colin. I mentioned it before, but it’s worth mentioning again. As the twentieth century began, so the life of Lily Aphrodite begins. We follow her through WWI up through the Weimar to the beginnings of WWII.
  • I read The Heretic’s Daughter both because of the local setting (Salem, MA) and because this is one of Little Brown’s lead novels this Fall. Also I’m having lunch with the author Kathleen Kent tomorrow. The novel follows a young woman whose entire family gets swept up in the Salem witch hunt. Creepy stuff.
  • Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner was a little fun reading for me. The war between humans and fairies brought about some sort of apocalypse. The main character Liza must find her way in a world where even trees can be bad. It’s good stuff.
  • Francine Prose’s Goldengrove broke my heart a little. It’s a coming of age novel about a young girl trying to recover after her older sister drowns. It’s about identity and finding your way through a very confusing time. Curious to see how this book does when it comes out in September.
  • I read The White Mary by Kira Salak over the weekend. It’s a gripping novel about a Czech journalist Marika Vecera who has spent her career on dangerous assignments in places like the Congo and Sierra Leone. Back in Boston after a harrowing experience, she learns that her hero, war correspondent Robert Lewis has disappeared. She runs off to Papua New Guinea in search of him. I still can’t pinpoint why I enjoyed this book so much. Salak wrote a book about traversing Papua New Guinea, so her coverage of trekking in the jungles seems true to life. She also wrote about Marika’s inner struggles with a sharp eye.
  • Right now I’m in the middle of Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton. The title says it all. Each chapter covers an area of the art world–judging the Turner Prize, a Christie’s auction, the Basel Art Fair, the editorial offices of Artforum, an art school crit, an artist’s studio, and the Venice Bienale. There’s so much I don’t know about the art world. I’m finding myself enjoying this book more than I expected with all the behind the scenes stuff.

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