Monday, August 22, 2005

Catching Up: Summer Books & Stuff

Of course, even though I've been on vacation, I've had my nose stuck in a book for a good part of it. Here's what I've found:
Mirror Mirror, by Gregory Maguire, the author of Wicked. I enjoyed this very very much (last summer I enjoyed Wicked very very much--I think I wouldn't mind seeing the musical). At any rate, Mirror Mirror is absolutely fantastic because we meet a somewhat fictionalized Lucrezia Borgia, and because Italian Borgia politics are mixed in throughout. Also because Maguire is on top of his game creating a fantastic origin for the dwarves (all 8 of them). A fun, light read.
The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason. Once again, Renaissance Italy comes into play--this time as an object of study. The book is a tight little mystery, almost suspenseful, with some good plot twists. Once again, a fun, light read--one that really left me wanting to go to Italy.
Nine Horses and Sailing Alone Around the Room, poetry by Billy Collins. I don't know that there is another poet like Billy Collins. He makes my soul fly and crash land in the same line. I smile and laugh and gasp, and my eyes grow big as saucers, and I read a poem over again (and even again) before moving on to the next one. I want to shout his poetry from the tops of mountains. Wow wow wow wow wow.
Dreams of My Russian Summers, by Andrei Makine, translated by Geoffrey Strachan. This book, set mostly in the Soviet Union, contains an intriguing look at the power of language and the effects of multilingualism. The protagonist's summers spent with his French grandmother on the Siberian tundra contrast starkly with his school years in a Russian city. It's a coming-of-age tale (and I admit to loving those), pitting realism and idealism against each other (of course)--I won't say outright which -ism wins, (but it is a Russian author writing a French novel).
Speaking of Russian writers, I admit I've been trying to get through Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov since spring. What a foul book. He should have just called it Perverted Pedophile and left it at that. Amilynne says I must read it before reading Reading Lolita in Tehran, but yuck! I don't know why they would want to read that book anywhere, much less in Tehran.
I must also comment on one disc: Absolution by Muse. Let me just say that if High Mass and Rock were wed, it would be this album. Fantastic.


Super Smart Genius said...

If you were Super Smart you'd finish Lolita--it really is a phenomenal novel, despite the pedophelia. Humbert Humbert is such a great character study in neurotica, and Nabokov's use of English is unmatched, even by native speakers. Finish it!

Melissa said...

Yes, I finished reading it on the ride to Salt Lake, and yes, it is masterfully written, and the ending was fantastic, although it's too bad you have to read the whole book to get there. I'll give the book back to you at Christmas.