The Invisible Mountain, by Carolina De Robertis. Vintage Books (2009), 424 pages.
This is a book that will make you want to fly to Uruguay and walk the streets of the first village you come to, knocking on doors and asking if you might come in to listen to stories told by whoever might be living there.
Rating:The Family Fang, by Kevin Wilson. Ecco (2011), 309 pages.
I normally go out of my way to avoid books described as “kooky” (second only to “wacky” in the category of descriptors that make me cringe) which is why, when I read the reviews raving about Wilson’s new novel and the “eccentricity” and “kooky pieces,” to be found within, my level of interest in checking it out was exactly zero.
Rating:Broken Glass Park, by Alina Bronsky. Translated from German by Tim Mohr. Europa Editions (2010), 211 pages.
Broken Glass Park is a coming of age novel originally published in Germany (so I suppose I should properly refer to it as a Bildungsroman). The coming-of-age protagonist is a seventeen-year-old Russian immigrant living in
Rating:What a disheartening year it’s been for those of us who want to believe that an author’s subsequent book will be as good as the one that preceded it. Such a string of much-anticipated follow-ups that have fallen flat on their face…
Rating:The Angel’s Game, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Anchor Books (2010), 531 pages.
Blech. What a relief to be done with this. And what an unexpected turn of events, given that the first third of the book was quite enjoyable.
Rating:Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen. Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2010), 562 pages.
Much like my favorite story-tellers of the 19th century (Tolstoy, Flaubert, Austen, the Brontes) Franzen begins his novels with the description of a family,
Rating:The God of Animals, by Aryn Kyle. Scribner (2007), 305 pages.
This was another one of those serendipitously happy discoveries in which the book isn’t yours and you don’t mean to give it serious consideration; you only picked it up because you happened to be standing near it at someone else’s house,
Rating:Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty & the Beast, by Robin McKinley. Harper Trophy (1978), 245 pages.
This is a young adult book (ages ten and up, according to Harper Trophy) that doesn’t so much retell as flesh out, giving significantly more background information, dialogue,
Rating:The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri. Houghton Mifflin Company (2004), 291 pages.
This is a very well-written book in which nothing happens. Now, I have no gripe against a quiet book in which the point is merely to appreciate its evocative and well-crafted language
Rating:The Hole We’re In, by Gabrielle Zevin. Black Cat (2010), 283 pages.
This is one of those novels that started off so well I set everything else aside for the weekend, settled myself onto the couch with a big blanket and a cup of tea, and commenced what was to be a lovely long couple of days of nothing but reading