Monday, September 15, 2008

Lisa's Book Stack

Sometimes a stack of book sits on my nighttable for months as I eye it suspiciously before going to sleep. I picked up some new ones and starting ALL of them last night, so I'm happy to have rotated the stack!

They all started off with a bang, seductively drawing me in like a box of chocolates, which is a delightful thought while lying in bed. Seriously.

Books are in order picked up:

1. THE HAKAWATI (Translates from the Arabic to "The Storyteller") by Rabih Alameddine. I bought this because it had such a BEAUTIFUL cover...pretty sea blue with swirling gold designs and tree roots and birds and hints of well as a great first line: "Listen. Allow me to be your god. let me take you on a journey beyond imagining. Let me tell you a story." Who could resist that invitation? Though so far I keep getting impatient with the "modern" tale that is interspersed with the old tale. I just want the old one, which has a totally fabulous and totally in control slave woman named Fatima running the show.

2. RUN by Ann Patchett. I loved her novel BEL CANTO so much, that this was an easy sell, now in a nice trade paperback, also with lots of pretty blue and hints of trees. Seems to be a tree theme all around for me today. This one begins with a family rivalry for ownership of a small statue handed down through the generations to the person it looks most like. I thought of Cinderella's stepsisters trying to shove their big feet into the glass slipper. But only now, while thinking about it. Last night I just wanted to hear the story of what happened.

3. THE DA VINCI CODE by Dan Brown. Amazingly, I have not yet read this, though it's been on my "list" for years. I finally signed it out of the library. I didn't want to buy it. Begins with a slow, painful death. I left the poor guy bleeding out even longer as I left the pages of that book for...

4. PALACE WALK by Naguib Mahfouz, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature. Originally published in Arabic in 1956 and here in 1990 (wow, long wait!), it was loaned to me by my friend Wendy who was wholly absorbed in it on the porch of her little cabin when we met at Oakland's Feather River Family Camp north of Tahoe in July. We finally got together for dinner over the weekend -- we'd all gotten to be good friends but travel and out-of-town company schedules conflicted till now -- and I got to take this book home for a spin. It's a WOW so far. Set in old (but not ancient) Egypt, I think, it begins with a wife who exists solely to serve her husband. I can't wait to see what cracks begin to open up in this existence. It's quiet, and yet pulls me right into the scene and the story. I love that.

Interesting how two of the four are translated from Arabic!

I keep trying to read Salman Rushdie's MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN. I've talked to at least three other people recently who have been trying to read him, and having difficulty getting pulled into the story. I WILL try again, because I love his writing, I just can't seem to stay with it so far, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth it to try to get there.

THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE was also recommended to me by a couple of different people, so I'll see if I can get that one to land on the nighttable soon. All so much better than (most) TV!

I'm a little sad I'm through the WRINKLE IN TIME quartet. I enjoyed it so much. I also figured out why I hadn't read some of them before -- they weren't written until I was in my twenties!

1 comment:

Wendy Wax said...

Hi Lisa,
MIdnight's Children is worth sticking with--it's one of my favorite books. And now that I'm on the subject, I'm going to name some more of my favorites, that I think you'll love. They are:
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami
The Chess Garden, Brooks Hansen
The Bone People, Keri Hulme
Stones from the River, Ursula Hegi
Kafka On the Shore, Haruki Murakami (but read the other one first)

Now I'm reading The Beautiful Cigar Girl, which I think you'll like because it's a murder mystery--and one of the characters (fiction based on fact, I believe) is Edgar Allan Poe. He's interesting and fun to read about.

Now go and read these books so we can talk about them! (My sister calls me "the girl who cried BOOK".)