September 1, 2011

August Reading Recap

Checking against my August reading plan, it looks as though I didn't do much reading this month, only getting through one and a quarter books:

36 ARGUMENTS FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein - I really enjoyed this engaging story about belief and love and knowledge. I laughed out loud (and got strange looks from other people in the room) many times while reading it. The characters and premise are inventive, and the book is packed with information about topics that include religion, prime numbers, and game theory. Next week I'll post a more detailed discussion that might better explain how Goldstein combines these subjects.

JANE EYRE by Charlotte Brontë - I've read the first quarter. The story is taking longer to get going than I'd like, but I think I've just about reached the part where things begin to happen.

I didn't even start BLUE MARS.

However, I fudged a bit in creating this month's list, because as I mentioned in my June/July recap, I wasn't done with all the books from that list. Here's what else I finished:

GREEN MARS by Kim Stanley Robinson - An excellent second book that builds well on the first book of the series without seeming like a repetition. The characters and situations all feel very real, whether the scale is a lovers' quarrel or a global crisis.

THE SPARROW by Mary Doria Russell - My family finished our group listen of the audio version. There was a lot to discuss about this book, so sharing it was a good experience, though the many alien words in the text made it sometimes a challenging listen. I liked THE SPARROW overall and was particularly impressed by the well-developed, unusual structure of the alien society. However, I thought the book should have been shorter and paced differently, with less time spent in the timeline that followed the aftermath and the main character's crisis of faith. In other words, I wanted this to be a different kind of book than the author wanted it to be, which is always a problematic type of criticism.

Good Stuff Out There:

→ Geoff Dyer writes in the New York Times Book Review about What We Do to Books: "[T]he book should be in near-mint condition when I start reading it, but I am not obsessive about keeping it that way. On the contrary, I like the way it gradually and subtly shows signs of wear and tear, of having been lived in (by me), like a pair of favorite jeans." (Thanks, Office of Letters and Light!)

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