Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Adventures in my books continued

I have continued on my quest to review all the recommended reading that comes my way. I was fascinated with The Red Tent, and felt it brought me a kum-bay-ya feeling of connectedness with all the women of the world, past and present. Then I tore through Emma Donoghue's Room in three or four days. It was an addicting story more than a mastery of language or tale of beauty. I just needed to know the little boy and his mother would be OK because until then, all was upturned in my universe and all my waking thoughts were used up reviewing the plot repeatedly, trying to figure it out, place myself in it, and find a solution. It was disturbing, but enjoyable. Once in awhile it's nice to get into a book that takes me hostage and requires that I complete it in as quick a time as possible.
Now I have started Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, and I am falling in love with the English language again. This book seduces me. I have re-read passages for the sheer joy of the wording choices. It's as if the author (Helen Simonson) took painstaking care to ensure each descriptor and piece of dialogue was exactly the right word choice without being bogged down with useless word after word. Part of the magic of the book though is that I believe all British people must just have this innate skill of choosing the best possible words. And then they come out sounding so charming, so accessible and yet intimidating.
So far I am taking this book slow, trying to soak it all in. The story is like this too, a love story in which the characters take great care to ensure it begins slowly and carefully. It makes me want to carefully consider all my future word selections, and commit to enjoying many more cups of (properly poured) tea in a day.

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