Summer reads so far

You can read my booklist for the past 35 years here

Death with Interruptions*
Jose Saramago

Another one of Saramago’s books where he takes one aspect of reality and shows how people react to it–in this case, death takes a vacation for two weeks. I loved the first half of the book, liked less the part where Death falls in love with a cellist. Strange to be reading it when Saramago died.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog*
Muriel Barbery

Loved the book, felt like the ending undermined the rest of the story.

Where the God of Love Hangs Out
Amy Bloom

Wonderfully emotional, spare writing, but hard to like or care about the perverse characters.

More of  This World or Maybe Another*
Barb Johnson

Memorable characters in pre-Katrina New Orleans, completely satisfying.

Private Life*
Jane Smiley

Sweeping novel with a depressing arc. Kate Chopin’s The Awakening is evoked at one point, and Margaret’s life and journey seem almost as confined. But I wondered whether she was too smart a character to live with what she lived with for so long without taking any action on her own behalf.

JMG LeClezio

Nobel Prize-winning author’s  tale of two Algerian desert people, a boy many years ago, and a contemporary girl of his tribe, and their struggles to exist against the forces first of colonialism and then globalization. Lovely.

The Night of the Gun*
David Carr

NYT writer investigates his drug-addled past, raising meta-questions about the nature of truth and memoir. Great book as long as he stayed on the theme of overcoming addiction; once safely back in the world, it verges on name-dropping and narcissism. Interviewing the wife and current boss? Not the same as the interviews with the druggies of the past.

The Lovers
Vendela Vida

I admire Vendela’s spare prose and stark emotional landscapes, and really loved Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name. This book, though, left me a bit cold.

Little Bee*
Chris Cleave

Thoughtful look at clash of cultures and refugees from a brutal problem the UK doesn’t want to recognize. Hard to like one of the protagonists, especially when the other was so wonderful. Bang-up ending with too many easy coincidences.

A Visit from the Goon Squad*
Jennifer Egan

Mish-mash of  story relating to rock and roll and aging. Unlikeable characters, but very likeable book. Hard to read on a Kindle because you want to skip around and figure who the heck that character was again. A little Nick Hornby/Jonathan Letham, unusual from a female writer.