Reading for June, 2005

June reading:
Small Ceremonies by Carol Shields
The Box Garden by Carol Shields
These are the first two novels written by Shields. There are some related characters in the two books, but each story stands by itself. I found Small Ceremonies to be more appealing, mostly because, like the novel I wrote for last year’s NaNoWriMo, it deals with a main character who has just written a failed novel and is trying to figure out what to do next. I suppose there are some writers who are self-conscious about writing, and some not at all.

Dune Messiah
Children of Dune by Frank Herbert
I had the inertia to get to the end of the third volume, so I did. I’m not sure if I like Herbert’s style of storytelling, he moves from scenes of stiff interaction between characters to long passages of alien sociological babble and then to awkward action sequences. As I said in another post, he creates a rich universe and only shows a corner of it.
Bury the Lead by David Rosenfelt
I picked this up in the “popular library” section of the downtown library. A fluffy, breezy detective story about a rich lawyer who solves a mystery involving dozens of cardboard stereotypes. Well, they’re not really detailed enough to be called stereotypes. All you know about the characters are their names and the reason why the narrator knows them. “Sam Willis is my accountant and friend, not necessarily in that order.” “She is Cindy Spodek, FBI special agent, Organized Crime Division.” Rosenfelt has mastered a writing style which doesn’t close off any potential casting choices, should someone, for some reason, want to make a movie of this crap. Not surprising, really, since he was previously a marketing suit for a movie studio before he bought his “mystery writer” licence. Yes, the book is an enjoyable light read, but why would you want to read anything by an author who clearly hates novels?
There were no Modern Library books this month.
In progress: The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler. Another “popular library” selection. Exactly as you would predict from the title, this is the story of a group of people talking (in absurdly erudite conversations) about the books of, interspersed with character exposition and some postmodern freebies.

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