Recent Reads | October 2016
The Swans of Fifth Avenue: Based on real events centering on Truman Capote and his "swans" who were the "It Girls" of the time; wealthy, elegant women, wives of the rich and powerful. It was vaguely interesting, but pretty forgettable, overall. Something about the tone didn't sit right with me, and after starting to read actual works of Truman Capote afterwards, I think it's just that it rings hollow. It's a slightly warped, pale imitation of Capote himself and the book becomes downright unlikable once you see it.
The Golem and the Jinni: This was our book club pick, and seemed like something I would have LOVED with it being a fantasy novel but grounded in reality and centering on two mythical beings that haven't been done to death by the genre yet. Alas, the plot was slow and uninteresting until the very end, and though it was character driven, it felt so stiff, cliched, and clunky that it wasn't enjoyable or life like for me. It was really missing that joy and wonder that good storytelling brings. I had to really struggle to finish this one. Bummer.
Hag-Seed: Compulsively readable, quick, sharp, fast paced. Atwood fans will recognize her signature style and be pleased with this novel. It's part of a series of re-tellings of Shakespeare plays, this one was The Tempest and, I swear I learned as much from this book about the original work than I did in a college lit class years ago. Atwood somehow manages to combines a true, engaging analysis of the play with a humorous, compelling story and likable characters, and I highly recommend it.
Breakfast at Tiffany's: Oh my god, Truman Capote! I can finally see why he was such a sensation and has become an enduring modern classic. His voice is so unique and tangible and weird and perfect, I've never read anything like it. This novella was insightful and real and beautiful. His writing alone is worth picking this up, but the story is a long beloved one, as most of you have probably seen the movie. I can't wait to read In Cold Blood after experiencing this.
Rules of Civility: This one I liked quite a bit. Amor Towles is clearly a gifted writer and I am really interested to read his newest novel after this one. His narrator is brimming with sharp wit and insightful observation cloaked in lovely prose and a fast paced plot. It doesn't get bogged down in long scenes and the novel doesn't go where you expect it to go, which was so refreshing. Romance, and lack thereof, is handled realistically and the narrator is wryly hilarious. This was a charming, lovely book and I'm glad I read it and really look forward to more of Towles work.
Tell me about what you've been reading recently!