I can’t really think about how the first quarter of 2012 is (nearly!) gone, but it does give me some satisfaction to be able to look back at what I’ve read so far. Six of forty-five– a slow start, but a start nonetheless (and I’ve got a couple in progress, so maybe I’ll be up to eight by the end of the month). Only thirty-nine books to read before the fake-end-of-the-world!
- Atonement (library, Kindle) – I had studiously avoided the movie that was based upon this Ian McEwan novel, mostly because it was a Keira Knightley vehicle and I cannot stand her. (Maybe mostly because of her Love, Actually role? Probably. Also, all those teeth.) However, there was no Keira Knightley in this book, and I really enjoyed the unreliable-narrator, book-about-a-writer aspect of it.
- Bonk (library) – Having enjoyed Mary Roach’s foray into space travel (and I find space dead boring), I moved on to her exploration of the stranger aspects of sex. As there was a lot of coverage of vomit/bodily waste in Packing for Mars, so too was there much discussion in Bonk of people being sexually stimulated while being observed. Conclusion: she goes for the awkward, and goes hard. It’s interesting, of course, but pity goes to those poor people who had to masturbate with electrodes attached to their heads and chests. For science!
- Dreams of Joy (library, Kindle) – February was a fairly slow reading month, both because I was in South Carolina for nearly half of it, and also because I decided to tackle the longest book ever (see below). I read the prequel to this one, Shanghai Girls, and tore right through this look at a 1950s Chinese-American girl who decides to go back to her homeland, post-RevolutionChina.
- 1Q84 (library, both hardcover and Kindle) – The issue with getting a highly sought-after book like this one from the library is that you have exactly three weeks to read it– if others have holds placed on it, there’s no renewing (hence the multiple formats/checkouts). 1Q84 is a 900+ page beast of a book, and was my first experience with Murakami. It definitely made me want to read more of him, and raised my opinion (slightly) of magical realism, which is at the center of the story.
- Smut (library) – A nice counterpoint to the length of 1Q84, I have to admit that I was taken in by this collection (duo) of short stories by both its title and cover (a blue background with white teacups, that might bring suggestions of sexual positions to a dirty-imaginative mind). The stories were wonderfully British, and a nice palate-cleanser after the heft of my previous read.
- If You Were Here (library) – I count myself as a fan of Jen Lancaster– I really enjoy her blog, and love Bitter is the New Black and My Fair Lazy. Her first attempt at fiction, however…was not my favorite. I think that it must be quite the challenge for a well-known memoirist to head into straight fiction, and I don’t know that she went far enough. It’s easy enough to substitute names of characters and pets, and at the end of the book I was wishing that she had just written another memoir about the “adventure” of buying a fixer-upper.