August 30, 2012

Reading on and off the rails

I haven’t written something for  this blog every week, so I guess that was an unrealistic idea.

We are going to Samoa for ten days next week, with our lovely house and dog sitter coming to stay in the house. I’m taking three solid  novels to read. Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies  is our book group choice, so we’ll definitely both read that. And there’s Canada by John Ford and Capital by John Lanchester.

I’ve just re-read Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell and understood it better this time. Maybe I read it more thoughtfully as some of its themes relate to the new novel I am thinking about. Not that I could write anything as clever and complex and this book.

Scifi/fantasy is not a kind of book I read much of these days, though I have in the past. As an example of a happy reading accident I read China Mievelle’s Railsea thinking it was one of the three shortlisted book for the Pullitzer Prize for fiction this year, the year the prize was not awarded. (David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King was also on that list, and should have won the Prize.) The actual shortlisted book was Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, which I haven’t read.

The point of this anecdote is that Railsea is a terrific book, well-written, with a clever, if unlikely, premise, great characters and a very satisfying ending. 

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