I'm not a book reviewer; I just reads 'em.

Johnathan Lethem's latest, You Don't Love Me Yet, is the best thing I've read so far this year. The Times gave it a so-so review, but I'm a bit more enthusiastic (obviously). Lethem's debut, Motherless Brooklyn was widely praised, but I was a bit bored of the whole concept by page 50. You Don't Love Me grabs from the beginning and races you to the end. It took me all of three days to finish; a nice change of pace since I'd been plodding through Quicksilver for most of the last month. The characters in You Don't Love Me are quirky, yes, but not annoyingly so. Nothing seems forced, and everything just flows. Finally, I see the talent that everyone's been saying he has. Granted, I didn't read Fortress of Solitude, but I'm certainly more disposed to doing so now!

Next up, I'm reading Arlington Park. Again, something I decided to read based on a review. I just looked at the review again, and I'm thinking I must have been in one of my "yeah, marriage sucks, men suck, relationships suck" moods when I placed my reserve with the library. I would not be reading this book in this mood, given the info The Times provides. The writing itself, a chapter in, is quite good. Reminiscent of Margaret Drabble. What I can't get over, is the ridiculously precious cover.

Uh, if this is a "marriage sucks, men suck, relationships suck" kinda book, what's with the Ode to Maeve Binchy here? The font, both on the cover and dustjacket can only be described as "twee." Did the designer know anything about the subject matter? I can only assume not.








I had to give one of the writers on Bookninja a little smackdown today. I've seen this "Oh booksellers don't know anything about books" attitude far too often. Trust me, I don't let it slide, ever, when I see it. You can read the post, and my comments here.

If you're into D.H. Lawrence, and more specifically The Rainbow and Women in Love, you might want to check out this article about Katherine Mansfield who was, apparently, the inspiration for Gudrun.

8 comments:

Wil Murray said...

I'm glad you're on this now. I've been forgetful of LJ.

Panic said...

There won't be much on this in the way of personal stuff, so you'll just have to remember to email me now and then.

Hey did your blog tell you I'd linked you or something? Still trying to get the hang of this wacky technology...

Wil Murray said...

I saw the link when I was checking my stats...you can do it too: http://www.statcounter.com
Yeah, I still read LJ when I remember...and I'll send some emails too...and hell, I juts joined facebook. Look at me, internet savvy.

Milena said...

"Uh, if this is a "marriage sucks, men suck, relationships suck" kinda book, what's with the Ode to Maeve Binchy here?"

ROFLMAO!

I remember stacking that stuff in Indigo. I wondered to myself... who reads this? Always looked a wee saccharin to me...

Hold Back The Rain said...

I must confess that I read Binchy's books and I love them. They're not demanding or brilliant or great literature, and yes there are rather twee, but that's their appeal. I will give Binchy credit for having a good ear for dialoque.

Fascinating article about Katherine Mansfield. I always found Gudrun to be a much more complex and interesting character than Ursula.

Hold Back The Rain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Panic said...

Twee is fine, if that's what you are. Arlington Park tries to be serious business!! Which it's not... I mean don't most Binchy's start with some women who's unhappy and has to do something about it? :P

I put up that Lawrence thing specifically for you, as always. :P

Hold Back The Rain said...

Hmmm..most of Binchy's major characters are women, but I wouldn't say that they all follow the "women is unhappy and must rectify that" formula. Her best stories are the ones where there's a big cast of characters, all with their own dilemmas, and she always finds a way to resolve all the dilemmas and tie them all in together.

See, now I *really* want to re-read Women In Love. It's been years since I read it. Have you read many of Lawrence's short stories? I have one collection of them, and they're not as captivating as his novels, IMHO.