I finished two more books: Audio Digging to America, by Anne Tyler, and the book I got for Christmas from my children, Born Standing Up, by Steve Martin.
Digging to America was good--I liked it better than I thought I would, but I think Ms. Tyler is falling into a formula pattern, which saddens me. I thought that Saint Maybe was/is one of the best stories, I have ever read, and maybe it is that nothing else she writes stacks up, while coming close often. The body of Digging to America is rich, and I love the character development, and I felt bad when bad things happened to anyone in the book. But I hated the ending. I know that comparing a writier to Shakespeare is generally considered a compliment, but he did have a problem with endings. Ms. Tyler does the same--as if to say "I know how I want this to end, but I am tired a writing." All said, it was satisfying, and I would recommend it to friends, but still think that Saint Maybe is her best work.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love Steve Martin: I love his humor, I love his sense of privacy, I love (most) of his artwork, I love his novellas, and I would love to see his plays, should one ever play close to where I am. So his "biography of someone he used to be" was a no-brainer. It took me just a few hours to read, and I loved it and wished it had lasted longer. Mr. Martin is on my cliched list of "10 Famous People You Would Invite to Dinner," and besides my husband, he is the only one that is still living. The apparent ease with which he strings words together are magical for me, and I wish that I could write like he does. I love that I feel as if I know him better, while he really didn't reveal much of his personal life in his book at all. I appreciate that; I didn't want to read a tell-all, or a defense of his life of his work. I loved it, and I eagerly wait for his next writing. I would love to see another original movie (please stop with the Father of the Bride and Cheaper by the Dozen!).