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01 May 2007 @ 04:20 pm
i've read this book once a year for the past three years. there's nothing that stands out as spectacular about it, it just has it's own quiet appeal. it's about a korean-american woman who has lost her family: her parents were shot in their store five years ago, and her sister has disappeared. as she tries to track down her sister, she finds out more about her parents' secret activities that might have lead to their death. i really like the main characer, suzy: she's so lonely.

(i put mystery as one of my tags-- do we have that genre yet?)

in this first section, she goes to koreatown to talk to her parents' accountant, and when that fails, she ends up in a tiny marrow-bone-soup restaurant downstairs.

food of memoryCollapse )

after finding out her parents' secret, suzy goes home and sleeps for days, and has a nightmare. [warning: language]

facesCollapse )
 
 
01 May 2007 @ 03:41 pm
A father and a son among the ashes of the world.

each the other's world entireCollapse )
 
 
03 April 2007 @ 05:26 pm
I've been reading my way through Neal Stephenson lately, and let me tell you, that takes some effort! He fills his pages with descriptions of people and their surroundings, he's been known to delve deeply into mathematical equations, and his plots are as convoluted as any I've seen. But reading him has been rewarding, because once I'd sifted through the chaff and distilled the plot, I enjoyed it a lot. At this point I've read Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, and Cryptonomicon, and I'm about halfway through his Baroque Cycle (the first two books of the trilogy are Quicksilver and Confusion.) I really want to post a bit from Confusion, because it's really good, but I've concluded that it would spoil a rather good part of the story. Instead, here's a bit from The Diamond Age, or A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer. It's set in a future society, which is to some extent dominated by the Neo-Victorians. This is the beginning of a garden party.

 
 
02 April 2007 @ 12:42 pm
This is the second book I've read by Jim Grimsley. The first was Comfort and Joy, which is actually a continuation of this story.

Winter Birds is about Danny, a young boy growing up in the rural south with his many brothers, a sister, his mother and abusive alcoholic father. He also has hemophilia. It sounds bleak, and it is not a happy funtime story, but the thing I like about Grimsley is that his prose is so very quiet and comforting, in this and even more so in Comfort and Joy, from which I may post a paragraph or two in a few days.

It is also interesting for being written entirely in second person (C&J is not), which I though would get tedious, but after a while I didn't even notice.

As you walk you dread the things you have learned to dread: your Papa, your special blood, anything that shakes it.Collapse )

Spoilers in the comments.
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08 March 2007 @ 10:25 pm
I just realized that I loved that comm and that I've woefully neglected it. I'm here to share a bit of one of Murakami's latest novels. Murakami is a favorite of mine, whether in English or in French, but I'm partial to the English translations because they flow better. I hope this'll make you want to read more.

Kafka on the ShoreCollapse )
 
 
 
06 December 2006 @ 01:44 pm
Title: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

Author: Max Brooks

Think Studs Terkel's The Good War, only about a worldwide battle against the reanimated dead that pushes humanity to the brink of extinction sometime in the near future, instead of World War II). It's one of those "unputdownable," edge-of-your-seat reads. I bought it mostly for my husband, who loves George Romero movies — a love I do not share — but I read it first and ended up loving it.

One entry from the oral historyCollapse )
 
 
28 November 2006 @ 12:46 pm
I've been reading Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard. I knew it was a good story because I'd seen and loved the film, but I am constantly in awe of how beautifully it is written.

If you're not familiar, it's about an English boy who was born in Shanghai. In 1941, When Shanghai is overcome by the Japanese, the boy, Jim, is separated from his parents. In this excerpt he has been in an internment camp for three years. Jim likes aviation above all things, and even though he suffers from malnutrition and has lost his parents and seen so much destruction and death, he is excited by the war. Jim's imagination is often dizzying.

After an air raid...Collapse )
 
 
20 November 2006 @ 07:56 pm
Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen by Bob Greene

Read more...Collapse )
 
 
The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary, by Peter Gilliver, Jeremy Marshall and Edmund Weiner, is about JRR Tolkien and words, two of my favorite subjects. I quote from page 86, the end of the second section, Tolkien as Wordwright:
In [his] intimate and active involvement with the histories of words, we can imagine Tolkien, perhaps, as an Ent in the forest of language, waking up old words that had fallen asleep–or, in the case of words taken from Old Norse, encouraging transplants to put down roots in new soil.

I love this book despite the inexplicable cover and intend to force it upon many friends.
 
 
12 September 2006 @ 08:55 am
Lunar Park is Bret Easton Ellis's (American Psycho, Less Than Zero) newest novel, a largely fictional memoir. It starts out pretty accurate, but quickly loses truth, and eventually (I haven't gotten that far yet) becomes a supernatural horror of sorts.

In these excerpts he's detailing his (largely exaggerated... I hope) drug exploits while on tour for Glamourama, his fifth book.

E-mail memo #9: Somehow writer has been tear-gassed at anti-globalization demonstration in Chicago.Collapse )
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