Tuesday, August 10, 2010

This Summer is a Page Turner

As luck would have it, I've been supplanting my work-filled days with some captivating reading. A few new titles I'd recommend.

Let the Great World Spin
This magical novel from Irish-born Colum McCann, uses the real-life story of French funambulist Phille Petit's tightrope walk between the twin towers as a touchstone between ten intertwined stories. McCann is a poet, with a deft touch and the Irish's gift for story-telling. You will not be disappointed. The last time I can remember anyone doing multiple perspectives this well was Barbara Kingsolver in The Poisonwood Bible. A real page turner.

The Imperfectionists
Oh glorious, glorious first novel. Tom Rachman's The Imperfectionists is a juicy, beautiful novel that reads like a series of James Joyce short stories, detailing the goings-on at an English language daily in Rome. It is funny and heartbreaking and sad and thoughtful and all those things that make you wish it would never end. Rachman is really someone to watch out for. If you loved Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, you'll love this novel. And speaking of Franzen, his first novel since The Corrections is due out on August 30th, just in time for Labour Day Weekend. Hold all my calls. Franzen is responsible for my not seeing half of Greece because I was engrossed in his brilliant, perfect novel.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
It's almost embarassing to admit that yes, I too read this book. Midway through I thought to myself, "Wow. This is probably all I'll ever know about Sweden." I'll be honest. This isn't my genre, at all, but I'm a little puzzled about why it's captivated the hearts and minds of people everywhere. It's a modestly good story -- a Da Vinci Code kind of thing -- but it's certainly not Moby Dick. Also, it's pretty dark. Anyway, if you're reading it on the subway, you might want to cover it up so you don't look like quite such a lemming.

One Day
Better to forego the above for this little summer reading gem from Brit David Nicolls. This is Bridget Jones meets When Harry Met Sally meets Same Time Next Year. It focuses on the relationship between two friends, Dexter and Emma. They hook up once, on July 15, 1988. Then the story revisits them on July 15th, every year. It's candy, but candy with some nutritional value.