friday reading notes
It has been lovely taking a « break » from blogging, although I must admit I miss the frenzied bookish conversation of checking all my favorite blogs each day and trying to put together my thoughts on all I’ve been reading.
Last week, my husband and I went on a short trip to visit friends in Normandy and Brittany, camping our way across France to get there and then spending a few quiet days visiting the beaches from Le Crotoy down to Ver-sur-mer. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest of the US means that I love my beaches windy, rocky and perfect for long walks. Normandy suits me wonderfully.
The night before we left I stayed up late and read Ray Robinson’s Electricity in one sitting. The style of this book is particularly suited to a furious, nonstop read. The novel follows Lily, a young woman with a turbulent past and severe epilepsy, as she deals with the aftermath of her mother’s death. The story rests on an interesting combination of hard-edged, tough reality and the promise of redemption. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book but I have a complicated quibble with the ending which I won’t go into here.
While we camped across France, I read Ali Smith’s The Accidental in the evenings. I started out loving this book and how it was written but something about the style began to wear a bit thin. It’s written in a stream-of-consciousness style, jumping between narrators, but the further I read, the more each narrator began to sound the same. I’m also usually quite willing to let a writer play with language, even if it takes me out and away from the central story, but in The Accidental, this technique began to feel superfluous. I wanted the language play to remain more or less connected to what was going on between the characters, and I’m not sure it did. But I’ll be looking for Smith’s other work…
Since coming home I’ve started Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome as well as Graham Swift’s Waterland. I loved Swift’s Last Orders and have been waiting for the right time to pick up Waterland. I’m quite in love with the book already and look forward to reading this novel over the next few days. Ethan Frome is also quite a good read and feels somewhat different from the other Wharton novel’s I’ve read (The Age of Innocence, The House of Mirth and The Buccaneers). I hope to have time to finish it this evening or tomorrow.