So far this year, I have read: A Beautiful Blue Death (Charles Finch--a book club pick), The Reversal (Michael Connelly), heart of the matter (Emily Giffin) and My Reading Life (Pat Conroy). Finch's book was OK-very Victorian and not all that compelling a main character. I was much more fascinated by a secondary character, Lady Jane, who was able to maintain her social status while behaving outside of the norm of women of that era. I would like to know more about her, but such was not the case.
The Reversal was classic Connelly--I enjoy his writing so much. Nothing new and special, but extremely enjoyable all the same.
heart of the matter--I am confused by Emily Giffin's books. I like them very much, but they are marketed like chick lit, but they are so much better than what that term implies. This particular volume was marred by the removal of the next to the last page, wherein the cheating husband reveals his remorse (why would someone remove that page?). Anyway, I liked it and will continue to read her books.
Pat Conroy is someone I have resisted reading for a long, long time. Mostly because I felt conflicted about the movies made from his books. Also because any interview I listened to that included him sounded somehow, I don't know, sanctimonious? Self-centered? Maybe it was just my age ("The Great Santini" was released when I was in middle school---lots of talk about it from my peers made it unwatchable for me; "The Prince of Tides" seemed a bit trite--somehow, Barbra Streisand in a Sosuthern novelist's story seemed, well, wrong!). For whatever reason, I wouldn't read him. Finally, I picked up South of Broad, and found Conroy's writing to be beautiful, simply beautiful. Unexpectedly beautiful. Although I heartily disliked the story (it seemed as though he began he story about one thing [the main character's reaction to his brother's suicide] but changed to telling a story about one of the friend's sexual status and subsequent death from AIDS, and then remembered that the story was about the brother's suicide and quickly added the backstory to the suicide). But the description of Charleston: I felt like I lived there. Prose like that is hard to come by. Anyway, I checked out My Reading Life from the library (no pages ripped out! Yay!). I had to read a couple excerpts out loud to my husband (who grunted quietly at them). I absolutely loved his discussion of Gone With the Wind, and think I may have to reread that one (for the third time, but my first as an adult). He has made me order some Anne Rivers Siddons' books from Paperback Swap.com, and I look forward to putting those in my (huge) pile of books to be read. However, his discussion of his love of books and language in his chapter on the Old New York Book Shop is what swayed me to his other books. If Conroy really feels that way about books and words, then maybe South of Broad wasn't really meant to be a novel, but he had to make it look that way for his publisher. I have ordered a couple more of his books to add to my stack; I'll keep you posted.