Thursday, January 8, 2009

Books: The Best Medicine

Over the past few days, as I've recovered from having my wisdom teeth removed, I've done pretty much nothing but sleep and read.

I started out the week by finishing up Revolutionary Road. I picked up a copy last month when I got home for winter break, read about half of it, and then became distracted by various other books, tv shows and activities, so when I pulled it from the depths of my purse on Monday afternoon it was for the first time in about two and a half weeks.

I liked the book. I get a thrill out of language from a time before I was born, and Revolutionary Road is full of rhythms and slang that can only be found in the past. And I'm always surprised when I find novels written in the forties, fifties and sixties to be so contemporary, as I did with this novel. It was horribly sad, the ending even more so than I was expecting, but still beautifully written, and I look forward to seeing the movie.

The second book I read this week was Beginner's Greek. Dad lent me a copy over Christmas and the summary on the inside cover reminded me of the movie Serendipity, one of my chick flick guilty pleasures. The book itself was equal parts delightful (smart, funny, self-aware) and over-the-top. I came away from it certain that I had loved it and also certain that I hadn't. But I'm glad I read the book. It felt at times like reading Jane Austen as written by a man, and the characters, even those that weren't particularly likable, were charming and distinctive.

Finally, I've just finished The Reader, yet another book that's just been turned into a movie starring Kate Winslet (despite my general aversion to movie tie-in book covers, I'm often wooed by their low prices, and I now seem to own three different books with Kate Winslet on the cover: Little Children, Revolutionary Road and The Reader, and two with Leonardo DiCaprio: Catch Me if You Can and Revolutionary Road). It's a sad little book, and I don't know that I liked it or disliked it (or that it's a book that can be liked or disliked). The language is very abrupt, which could be a side-effect of translation, but I suspect it's got more to do with the original German. I did come away from the book with the distinct feeling that I did not need to, or want to, see the movie, though.

My next read, I think, will be Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Hornby. It's the third and final compilation of his columns for The Believer about what he's been reading each month, and I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books like this (The Polysyllabic Spree and Homecoming v. the Dirt). Nick Hornby is one of my favorite authors (if you've never read High Fidelity I strongly suggest that you give it a try) because of his incredible ability to be both hysterically funny and emotionally true.

1 comment:

  1. I wasn't aware of Shakespeare Wrote for Money! *shall look into this* Thank you!

    Translation is interesting - especially how you can tell that, like you say. I always wish I knew the original so badly, even to read the English too - so I could /know/. Hrm.

    Hurrah, books.