Yarn Along

Yarn Along photo 4.1.15

I’m still reading Game of Thrones, but you don’t want to see another picture of it, do you? I didn’t think so. I’m still working on Jill’s scarf too, though I didn’t get much work done on it last weekend or this week. Today’s photo reflects a trip I took yesterday morning to PFP mecca Green Apple Books. For the last two weeks I’ve been working on eliminating sugar from my diet – mainly just to see how I feel, and to find out if the change has any impact at all on my chronic pain issues. Last week I went four days without a hitch – barely even missed it – but then on Friday when I slipped and had a cookie that one cookie set off some crazy chain reaction and I have done nothing but think about sugar ever since. I headed off to Green Apple yesterday morning needing not so much diet books (though I bought one of those) but first-person narratives of others who have made this change, and I came away with The Paleo Cure and Eve O. Shaub’s Year of No Sugar, which I hope to devour (ideally without washing them down with Coca-Cola) later this week and this weekend. And I will get more knitting done then too.

Happy Wednesday!

Yarn Along is hosted each Wednesday by Ginny on her blog, Small Things.

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Further Thoughts on Game of Thrones (by Bethany)

game of thrones cover image

Pages read: 255 out of 674

Right after I posted my last update, I started having some substantive things to say about Game of Thrones. Some of these ideas came from reader comments (thank you!), and others came naturally as I read more. I am enjoying this book, although I remain mystified by its relentless lack of humor and can’t quite imagine how I will tolerate so much grimness for another four and a half books. The plot is certainly moving forward: Ned Stark has taken over as the king’s “Hand” and is discovering that his old friend Robert has let his newfound royal status turn him into a bit of an ass; Jon Snow has settled into life as a member of the Night’s Watch, where he is known for his arrogance but is starting to earn some respect as someone who protests weaker people from bullies; Bran has regained consciousness after his fall, which seems to have had some kind of mystical effect on him, though the full implications are not yet clear. Tyrion Lannister, who is implicated (at best) in an attempt on Bran’s life, roams around with an uncanny knack for avoiding people who know that he is behind the attack on Bran; mostly all he does is have conversations with people about the fact that he is a dwarf. (Is this a thing? I have known a few “little people” over the years, and they have always had lots of other things to talk about besides their own small statures. Not Tyrion, though – he’s got a bit of a one-track mind.) Sansa and Arya are bitter enemies by this point: after the altercation between Arya’s friend Mycah (and her direwolf) and Sansa’s snotty future husband Prince Joffrey, Ned finds himself forced to order the killing of both Mycah and Sansa’s direwolf Lady (the rationale is that even though Arya’s direwolf ‘ran away’ after the incident – though Arya knows where her wolf is – Sansa’s wolf needed to be killed too because the entire species puts the royal family in danger) and Sansa now hates her sister, mourns the loss of her wolf, and is hurt by the fact that Prince Joffrey is not paying much attention to her. Ned navigates his strained relationships with both of his daughters reasonably well, even as he burrows deeper into his job as the King’s Hand, embarrassed by the expensive tournament the King insists on staging in his honor, mortified when he learns of the kingdom’s debt, and consumed by the promise he made to his wife to find out the truth about how, why, and by whom his predecessor Jon Arryn was killed. We seem to be on the verge of getting some answers to these questions soon.

I’m curious about whether Neil Gaiman’s Stardust is meant in part as a parody of Game of Thrones. There are all kinds of layers to this question – and Stardust is certainly a wonderful book in its own right whether it’s a parody or not, but the whole dynamic between the dying king of Stormhold and his decree that his sons (Primus, Secundus, Tertius, and so forth) must kill each other off before one of them – the lone survivor – can inherit his throne seems like an exaggerated version of the sort of thing that goes on in Game of Thrones. The place name “Stormhold” seems to come straight from Game of Thrones too, and then there are the walls in both novels that separate the known from the unknown – and so forth. Of course, it’s also true that I have read very few books in the fantasy genre, and it may be that both Martin and Gaiman are working with tropes that pre-date both novels. While it’s probably too soon to judge, in general I think Gaiman is a better writer than Martin, and I certainly don’t mean to insult Gaiman by suggesting that his novel is derivative (which it’s not), but I do want to revisit Stardust to see what other connections I might find between the two works.

Almost universally, my friends who have commented on my last review of this book have told me that the TV series Game of Thrones is better than the books. When I started the book, I had no real intention of ever watching the series, but I have a feeling I’ll relent on that. Maybe when I finish the first book, I’ll watch the first season of the series. It will give me an excuse for a knitting marathon.

More soon!

Posted in Authors, Fiction - Fantasy, Fiction - general, George R.R. Martin, Reviews by Bethany | Leave a comment

Just One Abandoned Book this Month: Why I Stopped Reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland (by Bethany)

the lowland cover image

I suppose it stands to reason that the month after I decide to blog about my abandoned books would be the month that I stop abandoning books. A few days ago I was worried that I would have to start some books simply for the purpose of abandoning them so I would have something to say on the blog this weekend. But then I was looking back over some old Yarn Along photos and I remembered that I did abandon one – Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland! I had mostly decided I was done with it back in February, but I remember reading it in a café across from my acupuncture place, and I looked back at my calendar and saw that my last acupuncture appointment was in early March, so woo-hoo! Now I don’t have to abandon any books on purpose.

Until The Lowland I read and enjoyed every book Lahiri wrote, so of course it feels a little disloyal to give up on her most recent novel. I think Lahiri is more of a short story writer than a novelist. It seems to me as if every piece of fiction she writes – short story or novel – is packed with roughly the same amount of “stuff.” Her short stories tend to be on the longer side, but they still feel compressed because they often cover years or decades, and the complexities of human relationships are addressed in full in, say, 10,000-15,000 words. On the other hand, her novels are dilute. Wind rushes through the corridors of her novels (The Lowland more than The Namesake, I think, though I haven’t read The Namesake in years). Her stories seem to burst at the seams wanting to be novels; her novels just sort of stand around with their hands in their pockets like new kids in junior high, wishing they were back in short story school.

I read about 100 pages of The Lowland, though I think I suspected I would abandon it after just a few chapters. The protagonist is Subhash, an Indian boy who becomes an Indian man and then moves to the United States. As such, Subhash is similar to most of the protagonists in Lahiri’s fiction. I am often annoyed when fiction writers rehash the same material over and over, although I’ll be the first to admit that Shakespeare rehashed the same material over and over, as did Dickens (and don’t even get me started on PAT CONROY!!!!). Of the writers that I read regularly, though, Lahiri rehashes the same material more than most, and if this trend continues Lahiri may no longer be a writer that I read regularly, though she is in other ways a master of her craft.

Growing up, Subhash was one year older than his brother, Udayan, but Udayan was the more dominant brother. Both were ambitious and determined students, but Udayan was also focused on social justice from an early age and became active in socialist politics as a young adult. He talks to his brother nonstop about the causes that are important to him, but Subhash never really agrees or disagrees. This dynamic is representative of the brothers’ relationship in general and also of Subhash’s approach to other relationships in his life. After he finishes his education in India, Subhash gets a graduate fellowship in the United States, where we get the full treatment of how he lives in a boarding house and cooks rice on his hot plate – a set of stock description that may well have been lifted wholesale out of Lahiri’s earlier work. Then he meets a young divorcee named Holly and enjoys a brief fling with her, knowing full well that he will not commit to Holly any more than he committed to his brother’s socialist causes.

Then his brother dies. Subhash gets the news from his parents and decides to go back to India. This is what was happening when I decided to stop reading the book. It’s true that the book is likely to get somewhat more interesting now that the semi-Americanized Subhash is about to go home, where an arranged marriage is likely to await him soon after the funeral – but seriously, after a hundred pages of doing homework on the metal table and political rants from Udayan and cooking endless pots of rice on the hot plate, I had just had it. I am an impatient reader and always have been – but there’s another factor in play too. I was reading this book on the Kindle App on my Microsoft Surface, after my Kindle died in what I am now referring as the Eyre Affair incident. I enjoy reading on a Kindle, but the Surface is not the same. It’s much heavier, for one thing, but what’s worse is that it’s my primary laptop right now, so when I have it in my hands I am constantly distracted by email and the internet and little sentences and paragraphs that I want to add to one of my own writing projects. This is why I’ve always known that I do not want a Kindle Fire. I am definitely a dedicated e-reader kind of person, and this incident confirms it. At the same time, I also think that I might have kept plugging with The Lowland if I had been reading a hard copy. One of the advantages of a hard copy is that it’s easy to read ahead a little bit to see if new characters are introduced and if action seems to be happening. This is possible in the Kindle app, of course, but it’s not easy or convenient. Even on my dedicated Kindle, I think I probably abandoned more books than I do when I read hard copies. I like reading my Kindle, but the books seem a little bit less real that way, and it’s easier to choose to just drift away from them – to not commit, like Subhash.

Posted in Abandoned Books Reports, Authors, E-Readers vs. Hard Copies, Fiction - general, Fiction - literary, Jhumpa Lahiri, Reviews by Bethany | 2 Comments

And now for something entirely different…. My Review of Jen Lancaster’s The Tao of Martha (by Jill)

The Tao of Martha cover

As I’ve been reading Jen’s latest memoir this week, I realized that I’ve read a pretty big variety of books so far this year, from popular teen literature to a Man Booker Prize winner. What’s been absent has been nonfiction, and also humor. The exception is that a few of the stories in the McSweeney’s anthology were amusing. But generally I haven’t read anything that’s made me laugh out loud this year. I’m way overdue for some Jen Lancaster. In fact, I’d go so far to say that my reading schedule owes me some Jen Lancaster. I have very mixed emotions about Martha Stewart, and the fact that my favorite blogger/memoirist/light fiction author decided to spend a year trying to embrace the Martha way of life made me a bit nervous. I was worried that Jen was going to change, and be some sort of tidy and organized serious person. So far that hasn’t happened, and I’ve been enjoying Jen’s latest book.

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I wrote that paragraph Thursday morning at like 8am, never thinking that I’d have enough time throughout the day to actually finish The Tao of Martha. Why I didn’t know that I’d be able to finish it is actually something of a surprise. I can usually plow through Jen Lancaster given a few hours and a comfortable chair. And after I finished, I promptly started a movie on On Demand, opened up my laptop to start my post, and fell asleep before the opening credits were done. Hence the lack of a post on Thursday. Sorry.

So the good news is Jen does not become a Martha Stewart clone at the end of the book. She’s still Jen, just a somewhat more organized Jen. I don’t know why I expected anything else. The book opens at the end of 2011, which was apparently not the best year ever in Jennsylvania. She decides that to make 2012 a better year, she should try living according to Martha Stewart’s basic principles: be organized, be crafty, be well decorated. Some of Jen’s projects are relatively easy, like cleaning out the junk drawer and organizing her desk and linen closet. Some go sideways really quickly: like the tasteful 4th of July celebration that morphs into a white trash hootenanny when Jen gets carried away purchasing decorations online when she doesn’t have time to make her own. But sometimes they go perfectly: like her Christmas party that sounded like it was so fun and beautiful that I wish I could have been a guest.

The non-Martha Stewart thread running throughout the whole year is the story of Maisy, Jen’s wonderful dog. She has been treated for multiple types of cancer over the past few years, and in the midst of her 4th of July preparations, Jen and her husband Fletch find out that Maisy has gone into kidney failure. (The veterinarian in me, of course, wants to know why this happened. Was it because of the cancer? Because of all the chemo she got? Or just because she’s an old dog and kidney failure happens sometimes? Where are her bloodwork values, Jen? Don’t you think some people want to know how Maisy’s creatinine is doing?) The parts of the book in which Jen writes about Maisy are my favorites, and also I think her best. Jen Lancaster loves her cats and her dogs, and that’s one reason why I will love her forever. If me buying a copy of each of her books allows her to take good care of the Thundercats and Loki and Maisy and Hambone and Libby, I’ll do it. Maisy was her first dog, and she appeared on the scene somewhere in the midst of Jen’s first book, Bitter is the New Black. Maisy is Jen’s loyal companion through all of her memoirs, and was often mentioned on her blog back in the day, usually with pictures of all the horrible destructive things she did when she was a puppy. I’ve known this dog her whole life, albeit virtually, but I didn’t know any details of her death until Thursday. And I was so sad to read about it, almost as sad as I’ve been when I’ve lost patients who I’ve known for a long time. Jen put into words everything I felt when I lost my dog Spinner in January, and also how it feels to watch your precious dog decline and you are powerless to stop it. “I figured that since I’ve been actively dreading this moment for the past three years, I’d somehow be better equipped to handle it. I’ve been trying to prepare myself ever since her diagnosis. Yet was we sit on this cold tile floor, holding my precious baby, I can’t for one second imagine my life without her (146)….” And then, towards the end, “Everywhere we look in the house, there are signs of Maisy, whether it’s the ottoman she chewed long ago or the E-Collar I used to help steady her while we gave her fluids. Each time I walk past her love seat and she’s not there, I break into tears. The worst part of all this—outside of missing my girl every second of every day—is that I feel like I wasted three years of my life worrying about this moment. I mourned her long before she was gone. Despite all my anxiety, the worst happened anyway. I thought somehow I was bracing myself against the sadness by preemptively fretting, yet all I did was waste the time I could have had being happy. That is, except for the past two months. I knew we were on borrowed time, so I made the most of every single moment, and when Maisy left this realm, there was no question in her mind as to how much we adored her (186).” I love this passage so much. I want to put it on my wall. Or on a T-shirt.

In the end, the blonde that ties the stories in The Tao of Martha together is not so much a certain media mogul, but a fat blonde and white pit bull with the cutest half cocked ears. And I loved it because of that. Now, lest we think that Jen’s book is flawless, I do have a couple of concerns. It tended to be a tad disjointed, reading more as a series of essays than a whole book. Her last few books have tended to be this way, and it’s always sort of annoyed me. This one is actually better than My Fair Lazy was, because these tasks all had to be related to Martha Stewart in one way or another. In the earlier book, the connection was much more vague: stuff Jen thinks she should do to become a better, more cultured and well-rounded person. Also, and this makes me feel terrible to say, but there was a bit of over-mentioning of Jen and Fletch’s more humble origins: they were both unemployed, completely broke, without electricity, and almost a place to live following the dot.com bust of the early 2000’s, back before Jen decided to become a blogger/writer. I get it, we know, you are living in a fancy house in Lake Forest, Illinois now, but just a few years ago you were worse off than most people. You aren’t entitled. You’re a real person who has overcome adversity. You appreciate everything you have. But maybe don’t mention it every forty pages? I will give props to Jen for always varying the way she said it each time, as well as that when it came up it was germane to whatever else was going on at that moment. I know that was a big event in Jen’s life; it practically changed everything about her. As if I don’t think about/talk about vet school every day. As if I don’t think, “if I hadn’t gone to vet school, my whole life would be so different now” at least three or four times a day. Okay, I take back what I said before about that annoying me about the book. Jen can talk about the events of Bitter is the New Black as much as she wants to. As long as next time she talks about Such a Pretty Fat, too. That one was my favorite! The issue with posting reviews about books written by bloggers one has followed for the better part of a decade is that one (i.e. me) feels like she is insulting a friend when she criticizes writing style, etc. But I doubt Jen will ever read this blog post, even though she does follow me on Twitter (or at least she used to), because I started following her ages ago, back when people always followed people who followed them. Regardless, of how much Jen wants to talk about her success and her “cutting garden” and her pool guys and her gardener, she will always be the “Bitch from Bitter” to me. And that bitch is hilarious.

Posted in Jen Lancaster, Nonfiction - General, Reviews by Jill | Leave a comment

Initial Thoughts on Game of Thrones (by Bethany)

game of thrones cover image

Pages read: 133 of 674

I don’t know how productive it will be for me to write multiple reviews of Game of Thrones here on the blog. I’m assuming that I’m one of the last few sentient beings on earth who is not already familiar with the books and/or the TV series, so I don’t have any pretensions that my reviews will “help” anyone understand the books or decide whether to read them. To be honest, the person who most stands to benefit from the reviews is me, since if I write detailed summaries and reactions to each book I can use them to refresh my memory when I’m 400 pages into the third book and the guy with the lilac eyes comes back and I can’t remember who he is. But here’s the thing: I have absolutely nothing to say about the first 133 pages of this book. This is not a normal state of affairs for me – normally I can find something to say about anything I read (and a fair bit about books I haven’t read too). But this book is the literary equivalent of a baked potato: it’s inoffensive and straightforward but bland and only minimally nutritious.

Humor me while I summarize: Eddard Stark is the patriarch of Winterfell, which is to say that he’s the lord of the manor, so to speak, and he has a variety of family members and children and other shady characters surrounding him in the expected concentric circles of feudalism. Keep in mind when I say “shady characters” that this is a relative term. The characters who surround some of the other power brokers in this novel are much, much shadier. Eddard is definitely a “good guy” – or as close to a good guy as I imagine this series is capable of. At this point, Eddard reminds me a lot of Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, in that he’s an upright, moral character who has made a decision to be the second-in-command to a more powerful man (kings in both cases), a role that will require him to compromise his honest and gentle nature from time to time. In the case of Eddard, the current King, Robert Baratheon, is a life-long friend, and upon the death – likely by foul play – of Jon Arryn, Robert’s previous “Hand,” Eddard reluctantly accepts this position, which he knows will complicate his life in all kinds of unpleasant ways.

Eddard and his wife Catelyn have five children – Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran, and Rickon. When Eddard travels south to serve as the king’s Hand, he brings Sansa and Arya with him. Sansa is betrothed to King Robert’s oldest son Joffrey, although there has recently been an incident involving Arya, Joffrey, a wooden club, a sword, and a “direwolf” that may have soured Joffrey to Arya’s older sister – we will have to see what becomes of this incident as time goes on. Sansa and Arya have the same kind of diametrically-opposed personalities that sisters in literature always seem to have: Arya is the Laura Ingalls to Sansa’s Mary; the Jo March to Sansa’s Meg; the Ramona Quimby to Sansa’s Beezus. Back in Winterfell, Bran is in a coma following a free-climbing accident (please note that this appears to be an “accident” in the Richard III sense of the word: Bran’s injury seems to be payback of some kind for the killing of Jon Arryn and/or a power play by someone or other – I’ll get back to you on this). His mother never leaves his side until an incident happens to convince her that Bran’s fall was no accident, and then she sets out on a mysterious errand. Oldest son Robb is manning the fort back at Winterfell (the family has a rule – There must always be a Stark at Winterfell – that strikes me as implicit foreshadowing: sooner or later there won’t be a Stark at Winterfell and bad things will ensue, right?) and we are told that three year-old Rickon mostly just wanders around and whines. Rickon hasn’t had much screen time yet, so I haven’t yet witnessed said whining first hand.

Before the novel begins, Robert Baratheon – with help from some trusted (and not-so-trusted) friends – forcefully removed the previous king from power, and of course this was an unpopular decision in certain quarters. Most of the Targaryen family – the relatives of the usurped king – are dead, but there is still a super-creepy guy named Viserys slinking around, and it appears that he has just sold his thirteen year-old sister to someone who is possibly even more evil than he is in exchange for the promise of a crown of his own sometime in the future. I’m thinking that his scary new brother-in-law might not be the most trustworthy of persons, but who knows? Maybe I’m just cynical.

These basics of plot and character are truly all that I have to tell you about Game of Thrones. I have nothing to say about Martin’s writing style, and while I don’t really like any of the characters, I don’t dislike any of them either, except for maybe Viscerys and his scary brother-in-law – but even them I dislike in very ordinary and boring ways. Even more strangely – in 133 pages I detected not one syllable of humor. Everything that happens is relayed with the same grim intensity. On a scale of 1 to 10, this book is precisely a five. No more, no less. I suspect I’m in for a long-term diet of baked potatoes. Tasteless white starch – Mmmm. Bring it on.

P.S. None of the weirdly-spelled character names in this novel were picked up by spellcheck. Is this series really so woven into our culture that its characters’ names are in the dictionary? Is it just me or is that kind of creepy?

Posted in Authors, Fiction - Fantasy, Fiction - general, George R.R. Martin, Reviews by Bethany | 10 Comments

Yarn Along

Yarn Along 3.25.15

It’s hard to portray in a photo how long Jill’s scarf is getting, but I estimate it’s about three feet long. Soon will come that period of time when every few rows I’ll tell myself that surely it must be almost done, and then I’ll try to wrap it around my neck and realize it is nowhere close. I spent most of 2013 having that repetitive dialogue with myself. I’m still loving the color and texture of the yarn and am enjoying working on it.

And what’s that, you ask, poking out from under the yarn? Yes, I am officially diving head first into Lake R.R. Martin. I am reading Game of Thrones. I’m only about 32 pages into it, and I feel as if those pages took me forever to read because I’m still trying to figure out all the interrelationships between the characters and making sense of all the fantastical elements. In brief, there are some knights and some kids and some wolf puppies and this one guy who, in the words of a favorite former professor of mine, is a deep, deep asshole.

I’ll have more to say on Game of Thrones soon. I hope everyone is enjoying their Wednesday!

Yarn Along is hosted by Ginny on her blog, Small Things.

Posted in Yarn Along | 10 Comments

Final Thoughts on Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North (by Jill)

narrowroad

 

So. The Narrow Road to the Deep North won the Man Booker Prize in 2014. After finishing it I understand why. It’s a big novel, but it is also a small one. It has a cast of thousands (not really), but Flanagan develops the major ones quite well. It’s a war novel, but also a tragic love story. It has descriptions of wartime injuries and third world diseases that made my stomach churn, and also images of surpassing beauty. It is plot and character driven, but also contains moments of that “beautiful nonsense” that we both love and hate around here. Oh, and it’s also avant garde because Flanagan doesn’t believe in quotation marks. Brief aside, why, oh why do some authors find it to be a good idea to ditch quotation marks? Do they cause autism or something, like vaccines? It’s just mean to your readers. The upshot of this book and how it can be everything to everyone is that I’m having a very hard time figuring out a way to approach writing about it. In the interest of actually getting something posted today, I think I’m going to have to keep things brief, lest I get completely side tracked and end up writing a term paper about it. I actually think I could do that about this book. But no one wants to read that. And I surely don’t want to take the time to write it.

The novel jumps around in time a bit, but for the most part moves forward steadily, focusing on a single day in a Japanese POW camp during monsoon season in 1943. The POW’s that Flanagan focuses on are a group of Australians tasked with building the Burma Railway, also known as the Death Railway because so many people died in the building of it. The Australians are dropping like flies on this day, and our “hero” Dorrigo Evans is their commanding officer, their doctor, and their executioner. He has to be the one to determine who is “well” enough to go onto the line and work, when “well” is a very loose term. Truly, I do not know that I have ever been as disturbed by anything I’ve read as I was by the time I spent with these men in the heart of World War II. I wanted to cry. I wanted to stop reading. I couldn’t do either. I just had to keep going, though sometimes it took me longer than I thought it would.

The love story aspect is prior to Dorrigo leaving for war. He falls in love with his uncle’s much younger wife, Amy, and they have an affair, which ends when he ships out. They never have a chance to say goodbye to each other because his departure is so sudden, and then, well, Dorrigo is taken prisoner, and his uncle tells Amy that he is dead, and then the hotel that they own explodes, and Dorrigo’s sort-of fiancée sends him a letter (which by some miracle actually gets to him in the POW camp on the other side of the world) saying that Amy is dead, even though maybe she isn’t. And years go by, and Dorrigo gets home eventually and marries Ella, the girl who told him that Amy was dead, and he spends the bulk of their marriage committing adultery and generally being a terrible husband.

In the POW camp, we are introduced to many Australians with names like Tiny and Rooster and Darky, and their captors, the Goanna, Corporal Fukuhara, Major Nakamura, and Colonel Kota. Flanagan has the reader spend time in the heads of the Japanese as well as the Australians, and it fascinated me how different the world views of the Japanese are. The horrible treatment they dish out to the POW’s isn’t any worse than anything that happened to them in military training (with the exception of the cholera and beri beri and the ulcers and the constant rain). The Japanese feel that any soldier who would allow himself to be captured is a coward and without honor—they would sooner die for their country than be prisoners of war. It’s such a foreign concept to me. I would much rather live than die, as would most Westerners I know. Having a bit of the novel told from the perspectives of these “bad guys” made for a more well-rounded story; I didn’t agree with what they did, but I understood why they did it.

I have so many half-formed thoughts about this book, and things I want to say, and passages I wish I had marked and now I can’t find. With the exception of the constant annoyance of the lack of quotation marks, I really enjoyed the process of reading The Narrow Road to the Deep North. I love that it was big and sprawling but also small and personal, and that Flanagan created characters I cared about but who were deeply, deeply flawed. I definitely recommend this book, though the graphic POW camp scenes are not for the weak of stomach/faint of heart. Also, this is not a book with a happy ending, though it may be one of the most satisfying sad endings I’ve ever read.

Also, I am going to go ahead and take a break from seriousness for a little bit.  My next book is going to be Jen Lancaster’s most recent memoir, The Tao of Martha, in which our Jen spends all of 2012 trying to live the Martha Stewart way.  I’m about fifty pages in and so far I’m really enjoying it.  Jen Lancaster is hilarious, and just what the doctor ordered.

 

Posted in Fiction - general, Fiction - Historical, Fiction - Important Award Winners, Fiction - literary, Reviews by Jill, Richard Flanagan | 1 Comment