Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Where Is A Book I Can't Put Down


 

 Image by Itty Bitty Bunnies


Yes, where is a book I can't put down?  You know the kind I mean.  Where you just can't wait to get back to it or you sit up till the wee hours reading past your bedtime because the book is that good.  This has not happened to me in a long time.  I read a lot and most of my books are well chosen and they are all well written.  The writing isn't the problem, in fact, some of these are wonderfully written; I admire how well they are written.  The problem is they don't captivate me and I guess I need that to really love a book. 
Hubby says if we got rid of our television viewing we would turn to books with more interest.  I've lived in places with no television and he is right; I certainly read far more when I was there.






That being said, here are a couple of books I thought were good.

I enjoyed Still Alice by Lisa Genova and decided to check out her other books.
 The premise of this one, Left Neglected, appealed to me and I read it over a couple of days.  Yes, it held my attention and I was eager to read to the end to see how the characters would fare.  No it wasn't quite a book I couldn't put down, but it was awfully close.
 In a nutshell, the story is about a very busy career woman and mother, Sarah, who has a car accident resulting in a specific brain injury called "left neglect".  It means you are no longer aware of anything on the left side of your body or to your left, a condition I had never heard of. Lisa, a neuroscientist herself, handled this portion of the book quite well as you'd expect. 
 I found the descriptions of day to day life leading up to the accident almost painful to read...so tightly wound was this woman's life.  Lisa describes Sarah's management of the details of a 70 hour a week job plus a family as that of an air traffic controller.
 I actually could identify a little remembering well the days when I was working when my daughters were little; every minute of every day was scheduled.  Anyway, watching our protagonist cope afterwards when she can't even floss her own teeth is just as interesting as the description of her life before.
While not a particularly literary novel, I enjoyed the medical bits and sympathize with the intent, trying to show that pursuing a life of consumerism can leave important parts of life left neglected. Pun intended because I think this was a point Lisa was trying to make. 


I began this book The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory only to realize I had read it before.  I usually enjoy her books mainly because I love historical fiction.  I have much admiration for an author who can make a time and era in history come alive through their words.  But I think I've read all Philippa's books, sadly.



This book, Stone Bruises by Simon Beckett, is one of those described as a psychological thriller.  It was part of a display at the library featuring British authors which caught my eye.  I read the first couple of pages standing there and knew I liked what I was reading.  I haven't finished this one yet but almost.  The main character is on the run and we don't know why except something really bad happened.  Like heist movies, on-the-run novels appeal to me for some reason.  I always root for the fellow doing the running even if a criminal, don't know why.  Anyway, the story telling is strong and the characters interesting to me and I like our hero.  This would make a great Beach book, I keep thinking.  And I will be checking out Simon's other books featuring a forensic anthropologist as the main character.


And lastly today, Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood, a book of nine short stories.  Loved these a lot maybe because Margaret is fearless in the way she will take on aging and dying, the awfulness of old bodies, the sad and bad things people do to each other. The way these things haunt us or not. And also I like how her honest portrayals made me smile sometimes.

A quote from one of her characters....
"You believed you could transcend the body as you aged, she tells herself. You believed you could rise above it, to a serene, nonphysical realm. But it’s only through ecstasy you can do that, and ecstasy is achieved through the body itself. Without the bone and sinew of wings, no flight. Without that ecstasy you can only be dragged further down by the body, into its machinery. Its rusting, creaking, vengeful, brute machinery.”

Yes, we all secretly think we will transcend this aging body of ours, don't we.