Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lit: Uniquely Portable Magic

Congratulations to Donna Tartt on winning the Pulitzer Prize for The Goldfinch. The Omaha Bookworms just finished The Goldfinch for discussion on Tuesday. We split it up into two months and had two great discussions about it. My parents even phoned in to join in the discussion this week as both of them have read it. Even those who didn't love the book had an appreciation for Tartt's skill as a writer.

"Soon I knew, the night sky would turn dark blue; the first tender, chilly gleam of April daylight would steal into the room. Garbage trucks would roar and grumble down the street; spring songbirds would start singing in the park; alarm clocks would be join go off in bedrooms all over the city. Guys hanging off the backs of trucks would toss fat whacking bundles of the Times and the Daily News to the sidewalks outside the newsstand. Mothers and dads all over the city would be shuffling around wild-haired in underwear and bathrobes, putting on the coffee, plugging in the toaster, waking their kids up for school."

I don't suppose it would be possible to convince Tartt after this win that maybe a few dozen pages worth of the book could have been cut without losing anything. Still, it's well worth reading. I meant to get my review up this week but, seriously, I'm still mulling it over.

Have any of you heard of Paperblog or perhaps you've been approached to contribute? I'm trying to figure out exactly what the benefits/drawbacks would be of contributing and who reads it. Is it meant to be something akin to Flipboard or Reddit? 

Nobel-prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez died today at age 87. I suppose it's time to forgive him for Love In The Time Of Cholera. Although, I suppose John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale should share in the blame for obsessing over it in the movie "Serendipity" and convincing me I had to read it. Have you read any of his books? I suppose I should give Marquez another chance and read One Hundred Years of Solitude.

I see that Julia Glass has a new book out (And The Dark Sacred Night). Please don't everyone start raving about and convince me to give Glass yet another chance. Because you know I'm a sucker for a book everyone is raving about but Glass' books just never work for me.

In discussing our book selection for next month, the Bookworms toyed with reading Grapes of Wrath in honor of its 75th anniversary. Almost everyone had previously read it but most were up for a reread. I have, amazingly, never read it. Have you? I have loved the Steinbeck I have read (no, I take that back, I most certainly did not enjoy The Pearl) but I won't be reading Grapes of Wrath with the Bookworms because one member begged us please to not make her read it again. We are nothing if not accommodating.

I finally got back to the library book sale today and picked up seven "new" audio books, as well as an M. C. Beaton book and Kim Wright's Love In Mid Air (on Mari's recommendation). I raced to finish The Warden on the way home today so I can start a new book tomorrow. But so many choices - mystery, literary, magical realism, nonfiction - I don't know where to start. After so many classics in a row, I'm definitely looking forward to reading something more recent!


  1. I was sad to hear about Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I read Hundred Years of Solitude a few years ago and thought it was okay. It's one of those books that almost ruined magical realism for me. In fact, it did for awhile. I hate to say that on the day of the author's passing, but it is true. I know it is a well loved book overall though. So, maybe you will be one of those who love it.

    I still haven't read anything by Julia Glass, and so I cannot comment on her books. I think you've read your fair share of her books to know that her new one, no matter how loved, probably won't be for you. There's always that chance, but you have plenty else to read, right?

    I have never read Grapes of Wrath, and had completely forgotten about The Pearl until you mentioned it. I have read that one. back in high school. And here I thought I'd never read Steinbeck all these years!

    Good luck in deciding what to read next!

  2. I truly enjoyed The Goldfinch, but I would have liked an edit, too. It was almost like two different books joined railroad style--connected but quite separate. Her prose, however, is eloquent and sometimes breathtaking. You must read Grapes of Wrath. It is that simple. Followed by East of Eden. They are the backbone of modern American literature.

  3. I read The Grapes of Wrath in high school over 30 years ago. I remember that I loved it, but never read much more by Steinbeck after that. I've read Of Mice and Men (good), Cannery Row (ok) and The Winter of Our Discontent (ok). Last month I decided to give East of Eden a try and it turned out to be a winner! What a storyteller. Now I'm tempted to go back and reread The Grapes of Wrath. Since the other took me 3 weeks, I may wait until next March. ;)

  4. I read The Grapes of Wrath in high school and have been meaning to reread it for years.. even have it on my Classics Club list. I love Steinbeck!

    For what it's worth, Julia Glass seems to work better on audio for me.

  5. I absolutely hated The Pearl too! We had to read it in high school and it's the only Steinbeck I've read that I disliked. I loved East of Eden but have never read The Grapes of Wrath. Somehow I missed that though it's on my list of books to read. Marquez is another hole in my reading education. I'm the opposite on books that people are raving about. If a book gets to much press than I feel the need to protest and not read it. I'm contrary like that I guess!