Freaks: Alive on the Inside – Annette Curtis Klause - *paperback* - Just disappointing. Poor, YA writing, strangely thin story with no artistic lyrical wordsmithing - all action and dialogue. Ok.
Cemetery Girl – David Bell - *trade* - Another outing in the "shoulda coulda been a screenplay" modern novel. Nothing lyrical or poetic about this. But it is a very compelling story and is told well. It's a fast read that will stay with you long long after you finish it. Yes!
Fallen – Lauren Kate - *kindled* - Just disappointing. Poor, YA writing, strangely thin story with no continuity. Part of the current “angel” fad. No.
Hush Hush – Becca Fitzpatrick - *kindled* - Terrible beyond review. Seriously poor YA, thin story, boring characters, bizarre plot requiring Fallen Angels to become Guardian Angels. No.
The Children’s Book – AS Byatt - *kindled* - Utterly phenomenal. A HUGE story taking place at the dawn of the 20th Century, focus on the Arts&Crafts movement of Britain and several conjoined families. Amazing breadth of characters and historical situations. Tragic and true-to-life ending. Lovely magical bits of interspersed fairytales. YES!
Wasteland – Francessca Lia Block - *kindled* - An incredibly moving and tragic tale of a brother and sister. Lyrical and poetic and very, very visual. Superb outing for this hit-or-miss authoress. Yes.
Her Fearful Symmetry – Audrey Niffenegger - *kindled* - I loved loved loved this. Reminiscent of Gaiman. Entertaining and thought-provoking. Modern fantasy. Yes.
Jakob Wywialowski and the Angels, an Amazon Short – Audrey Niffenegger - *bought as pdf sent to kindle* - Wonderful! A funny and thoughtful re-interpretation of “angels” and “infested”. Fantastically well done. Yes.
Brokeback Mountain – Annie Proulx - *downloaded as pdf sent to kindle* - Amazing and heartrending. So much voice, so much story, so much emotion in such a small package. Yes.
The Unspeakable – Charles Laird Calia – out-of-print trade paperback – Brilliant. And moving. Story of a Catholic priest who becomes mute through Divine Intervention. Sign language, Deaf. Yes.
The Brethren Series – author - *kindled* - Gag. No.
Covet – JR Ward - *kindled* - Ward’s attempt to get on the Angel train. An absolutely mediocre outing for an otherwise entertaining writer. Same male charas, same female charas. Dull and not very “angelic” at all. No.
Angel Time - Anne Rice – *kindled* – The converted Rice's attempt to write angels. So dismally bad, so incredibly dull....I could not finish it. Suffers from Rice's typical inability to show the story and is thus told in the most plodding of ways. Her angel is an interesting character up to a point. Pity.No.
The American Sign Language Phrase Book – Barbara Bernstein Fant - trade paperback - A concise and yet far from overly academic way of looking at ASL syntax and grammar. I wish there was a chapter on transcribing in GLOSS. Yes.
For Hearing People Only - Matthew S. Moore- paperback textbook - An interesting slangy contemporary chapter by chapter Question and Answer format for hearing people regarding the Deaf. A bit irreverent but a great quick resource.Yes.
The Electric Michelangelo - Sarah Hall- paperback trade - The most astonishing use of character, prose, location, vocation, and inner thought I've ever read. It's almost nearly a masterpiece.Yes. Yes. Yes, oh gods, yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Daughters of the North - Sarah Hall-kindled - Typical post-Armeggedon, women rule men are lame, survivalist crappola. Some nice passages about interior strength. A very lame, very pathetic gimmick in which entire passages are just. not. written. Meh.
How To Paint a Dead Man - Sarah Hall-kindled - An astonishing prose experiment weaving three different families, two different experiences, exploded relationships, imploded understanding of the self, over the course of fifty years. It is haunting and poetic and heartbreaking and it works. The relationship between the twins is a magical fairytale. Yes. Yes. Yes.
The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner- paperback - *weeps* I love Faulkner, I love Southern Gothic, I am currently loving incestuous themes, and I ALWAYS adore ruminations regarding time. Faulkner's timepiece "the mausoleum of all hope and desire". This is difficult and rewarding. Quentin's bit is best, imo, and yes, I do think the child is his. Yes. Read this. Yes.
Illyria - Elizabeth Hand- kindled - An interesting and somewhat enchanting exploration of the juvenile relationship of "kissing cousins". It could have been more. Much more. But I'll take what I can get in ethereal prose with a strong female lead and a fey male. Worthwhile - YES.
The Hanged Man – Francessca Lia Block - kindled - Deeply haunting and terribly disturbing tale of a fatherless daughter. Strong symbolic visuals and a positive ending after so much sadness. Yes.
The Frenzy – Francessca Lia Block - hardback - An interesting and refreshingly unique take on the "werewolf". As per Block's imaginative style this is more fairy tale than contemporary YA and that extra bit of magic elevates this (and all of Block's work) to a place wherein the reader can really think and ponder and continue the imaginative story long after the book is finished. Yes.
Winter's Bone - Daniel Woodrell - paperback - An absolutely astonishing and deeply troubling fictional account of Ozark clan lifestyle. This book broke my heart and wrung tears from me that I didn't think I could shed for a novel. It is beautiful, heartfelt, lyrical and very, very real. I am going to read all of Woodrell's work. A RESOUNDING YES!
Tomato Red - Daniel Woodrell - paperback - A RESOUNDING YES!
My Abandonment - Peter Bock - paperback - A RESOUNDING YES!
The Sealed Letter - Emma Donoghue - kindled - YES!
Life Mask - Emma Donoghue - kindled - YES!
Five Flavors of Dumb - Antony John - kindled - No.
The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin - Josh Berk - kindled - YES!
Girl Stolen - April Henry - hardback - Worthwhile.
Forests of the Heart - Charles deLint - paperback - Yawn. No.
The Circus Book - 1870 - 1950 - coffee table hardback - YESYEYSYES!!!
Nature's Ban: Women's Incest Literature - Karen Jacobsen McLennan - paperback - Absolutely!!!
Dr. Haggard's Disease - Patrick McGrath - paperback - A resounding YES!
I have been a member of a small band of Literati since 2004. Each month a single member chooses a book and provides a copy to each of the other members. The following month dinner is served, wine drank and literature expounded upon for hours.
"Capital Letter" indicates member's book picks.
The Devil in the White City - Erik Larsen - A complex, psychological and detailed semi-fictionalized historical account of a gruesome American serial murderer who seems to have been forgotten. There are images within the text which will stay with the reader for a long, long time. We read this with the companion The Chicago World's Fair of 1893: A Photographic Record and I do think that made a world of difference to the visual embedding of the text. Recommended.
Joan of Arc - Mark Twain - A difficult historical fiction piece by one of America's most gifted writers. Why this subject matter? Who knows. It is painful to read...because, well we already know how it ends. But it is a great immersion into another time period and neither plodding nor boring. Recommended.
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress - Dai Sijie
Shasta Indian Tales – Jaime De Angulo
Poets on the Peaks - John Suiter
Everything Is Illuminated - Jonathon Safron Sofer - So beautiful it hurts. Achingly beautiful. This writer is a poet who can sustain a kind of haunting lyricism for the length of a novel. The scenes from the Jewish village are astonishing. Recommended.
The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
White Bicycles - Joe Boyd
Frankie Furbo – William Wharton
West of Jesus – Steven Kotler
Crazyhorse – Mari Sandoz
Black Easter - James Blish - INCREDIBLY dated small book from the 1960's. Amusing to say the least although there are certainly some thought-provoking ideas in this modern day Faustus story. Ooooh - magic! Semi-recommended.
A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
Pink - Gus VanSant
The Position - Meg Wolitzer
Adventures of the Artificial Woman - Thomas Berger
California Bloodstock - Terry MacDonald
The Sparrow - Mary Doria Russell
Talk Talk – TC Boyle
Rack and Ruin – Don Lee
The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
When We Were Orphans - Kazuo Ishiguro
The Brave Cowboy - Edward Abbey
Independent People - Halldor Laxness
The Botany of Desire - Michael Pollan
The Black Book - Orhan Pamuk
Living Well is the Best Revenge – Calvin Tomkins
The Elegance of the Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery
Angels in America – Tony Kushner
Holidays on Ice – David Sedaris
Last Evening on Earth – Roberto Bolano
The Mistress of Spices - Chitra Divakaruni
The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
Stiff - Mary Roach
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hasain
Saving Fish From Drowning - Amy Tan
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Razor’s Edge - W. Somerset Maughm
Potion Hoshin Engi - Ryu Fujisaki
Waterland - Graham Swift
Shark Dialogues – Kiana Davenport
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Coming Through Slaughter - Michael Ondaatje
Reading Lolita In Tehran - Azar Nafisi
The Stone Raft - Jose Saramago
Graceland - Chris Abani
On Beauty - Zadie Smith
Out Stealing Horses – Per Petterson
The Road - Cormac McCarthy - One of my most favourite authors with a different kind of outing than the lyrical SouthernGothic I love him madly for. This book is difficult - both in style but more in subject. You will weep. You will. Recommended.
Another Bullshit Night in Suck City - Nick Flynn
Hummingbird House – Patricia Henley
Liberty - Garrison Keillor
Death of a Mexican – Manuel Paul Lopez
Fire in the Blood – Irene Menairovsky
And the Ass Saw the Angel - Nick Cave
From Dark Wood to White Rose - Helen M. Luke/The Divine Comedy - Dante
Mirror Mirror - Gregory Maguire
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
To Reach The Clouds - Phillipe Petit
Vellum - Hal Duncan
Winter: A Collection of Essays – edited by Gary Schmitt and Susan Felch
The Incestuous Sisters/ The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
I am Legend/I am Legend – Richard Mathison
The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand