Wednesday, March 29, 2006

reading lists

I like keeping the reading list here. I really do forget what I've read, sadly. I read so much, very little of it sticks unless I am teaching it. So, for instance, although I recommend Gilead to everyone I know, I actually remember very little of it myself right now, other than the overwhelming sense of beauty and loss with which it is suffused. Sometimes I wish I wrote little reviews right when I read stuff, so that I could remember it better. So, for instance, I might write of Welcome to Lizard Motel that the critique of the high school curriculum seems spot-on, but that merging that with a critique of YA literature is wrong-headed and misplaced. I might write of When Dad Killed Mom (one of the books Feinberg objects to simply on the basis of the title) that it's not Julius Lester's best work, but it's an interesting novel about, among other things, sibling rivalry. (I happen to be on a quest now for books about siblings, but that's another story.)

Then I'd write that Beyond Beowulf engrossed me through two bumpy plane rides, despite the fact that iambic pentameter usually puts me to sleep (sorry, Dad!). That it didn't is a tribute to the imaginative sweep of the storyline, which tracks Beowulf's followers from their home in Scandinavia to a new settlement in Britain, following the death of their hero. I love stories that consider "what happens next"--what happens after the ending, when those who live must carry on?

In an odd way that ties my last two books read together, I'm surprised to discover. The Time Traveler's Wife also considers how one lives on "after," though in this case one of the characters is always displaced from time, sometimes finding himself "after" and sometimes "before." But the novel for me is especially poignant with the title character's "after," which moves inexorably forward, denying her the movement her husband is afflicted with.

OK, so I just did what I said I might do. Maybe I'll do it again some time, too.

(I also get to remove an asterisk from this list!)


Mom said...

You might provide a link to Beyond Beowulf! (Just trying to sell more!)

Libby said...

Done, Mom!

wendy said...

Libby, most people I know say they do not remember content except in their favorite books. So you are not alone. What happens to me, especially in the old days when I read a book everynight, all the way thru is that I always remember exactly where I was when I was reading, but no real nuanced memory of content. I think this: what do you recall? question would be interesting on yr blog. Also, was the book by Julius Lester new or old?

I only remember his first or what I thought was his first, LOVESONG and definitely what I thought was his last, "The Autobiography of God" which I recommend highly though it's a femisimist Jewish God, no matter... love wendy

mom said...




Tante Rose said...

next asterisk, try Birdsong. Heartbreaking, brilliant