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katehaney

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08:50 pm: Books (almost entirely fiction)
It’s (almost) all fiction this time, mostly crap, which is unusual. I’m still reading a fair amount of non-fiction, but haven’t finished or given up on anything recently. I’d planned to (read non-fiction, that is), on the trip to DC, but it turns out that regional trains make me wanna barf. Oopsy!

Just for something different, I’m gonna summarize the romance novels in a table. They basically come down to characters, plot, sex, and writing… if you’re lucky, you get something else (humor, learning, whatever).
AuthorTitleCharactersPlotSexWritingOther
Susan AndersonBurning Upstupid fairly compellingpretty hotoccasional bad grammar/sloppy languagesupermarket purchase
Jude DeverauxHeartwishesterrific interestinggoodexcellentEdilean series; funny in places
Linda HowardPreygoodcompelling mystery/adventuretakes too long to get to the good stuffpretty gooda fair amount of cussing
Johanna LindsayWhen Passion Rulesabsurdcompletely silly (girl is really a princess! Wait… really? Oh good gracious)endless metaphorical foreplay and one OK sex scenegoodsupermarket purchase
Linda Lael MillerCreed's Honorfairsome semblance of oneOKfine
Nora RobertsRobert ⊛ CybilOKreasonableboring, highly metaphoricalgoodtwo stories



Susan Sheehan’s Is There No Place on Earth for Me? Is one of the weirdest books I’ve read. It’s basically a journalistic account of a woman’s experiences in mental hospitals. Kind of a story-fied version of medical charts. It’s not very interesting, really, though I did ultimately finish it. It’s not clear to me why it was written or who the audience was. But I read it. :shrug: I suppose it captures a specific phase in the U.S. mental healthcare system (mostly, as you might guess, not very good care at all). Disturbing, I suppose, but not enough to keep me from sleeping or to dwell on it. It feels too… past for that.

I do wish Sheehan had gone into more detail about the problems that ensued when TPTB (Ronald Reagan or mental patient advocates, depending on your politics) decided to put the wackos on the street, supposedly for (far cheaper) outpatient care. The huge influx of the mentally ill to the ranks of the homeless had a significant impact and she barely mentions it in passing. Yet there was ample room for her blow-by-blow accounts of medications prescribed, paperwork filled out, etc. Oh well.

Stephen Fry’s The Liar was his first novel and it’s rather marvelous (and draws from his life for some fun details). The protagonist, Adrian, is smart, funny, and a not-altogether-reliable narrator of his various highjinks, mostly in school. It’s highly entertaining, well written, and generally fun. There’s a silly subplot that turns out to be important, but you don’t know that until the end (of course). I’m not sure it was necessary, but it’s not a huge distraction in any case.

I read two John Irving books recently – A Widow for One Year, which I’ve had for ages but never read, and In One Person, which is his latest. Irving is odd. It occurs to me that the covers of his books are particularly unfortunate, as they make no sense (and are not remotely compelling) until after you’ve read the books. Harumph. Anyway, I loved A Widow for One Year (I think I’d never read it, but there’s a key plot point around driving skills that I’m quite sure I have read, so who knows).

I found In One Person harder to like, in part because the narrator is quite young (middle school, as I recall) in the beginning, and he’s both not terribly likable and not terribly articulate. He did ultimately grow on me and I did enjoy the novel, if not as much as Garp or Owen Meaney or Widow.

Current Location: Longmeadow
Current Mood: okayokay
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Comments

[User Picture]
From:occhi_cinesi
Date:June 15th, 2012 03:15 am (UTC)

I love you for this table

(Link)
I just do.

swoon
[User Picture]
From:katehaney
Date:June 15th, 2012 01:18 pm (UTC)

proof that the books could be interchangeable

(Link)
but that doesn't stop me from reading them, of course. :)
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