Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Books I Read in April

Books I Read in January
Books I Read in February
Books I Read in March

The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht
When Natalia’s grandfather dies, she processes his death by remembering his magnificent stories.
I was partial to this book because I met Tea Obreht, but I honestly did love it. The book has a short-story feel and the magical realism mixed with myths create a fascinating world that sweeps you away. I’ve never read a book with such superb scene descriptions. I’m still scratching my head over the ending, so if anyone who has read the book would like to discuss it with me, that would be awesome.
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Addie’s last wish is to be buried miles away from home. The Budren family, a dysfunctional group of misfits, undergo personal journeys as well as the journey with their mother’s coffin.
I think I liked it. The book is very complex – it’s the kind of book where you could either say, “I don’t know what the crap is going on” and throw it over your shoulder, or you could spend hours discussing the novel and keep peeling off layers to discover a complex network of meaning. I did both. I’ve been discussing it with people here. If you’ve read the book, feel free to join in.
The Birth of Venus by Sarah Durant
During the luxurious reign of the Medici in the Florence, art was the supreme path to God. Alessandra has to balance an unhappy marriage, the conflict between devotion and beauty, and her love for a mysterious painter.
I was surprised at how much I liked this novel. The setting alone was magnificent. I loved the art, the questions of religion, the moral dilemmas, and I enjoyed the story.

The prologue is probably the best prologue ever written. This should be read in Creative Writing classes to teach people about affective hooks. You can read it here.

One Virgin Too Many by Lindsay Davis
When a six-year-old Vestal Virgin candidate disappears, detective Marcus Didius Falco must find her and save her life.
This was the first time I read a historical-fiction murder-mystery, which aparently is a genre gaining popularity. It was fun to read a different interpretation of the Vestal Virgins. Her's was irreverent, in a humorous way. This book was pretty accurate. Most books with vestals in them make tons of mistakes.


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