A new batch!
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Caroll
- Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Caroll
- Chalice, Robin McKinley
- Like You’d Understand, Anyway, Jim Shepard
- The Hollywood Economist, Edward Jay Epstein
- Nasty, Brutish and Long: Adventures in Old Age and the World of Eldercare, Ira Rosofsky
- Hospital, Julie Salomon
- A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis
Lots of gorgeous reading in this batch! It started out delightful – I haven’t re-read Alice in years – but somehow wandered into depressingland by the end. Or at least that’s what I expected! But actually, Rosofsky’s book was bitterly funny, Salomon’s thought-provoking, and Lewis’s cathartic. Since my father died, I’d been picking up grief memoirs in the hope that one of them would help me speak what I’m feeling. I couldn’t get past the first chapter of any of them, though. Some made me cry too hard (hello, Joan Didion). Some made me really irritated (yes, Dave Eggers, I mean you). Some just didn’t speak for my heart – and I really thought that Lewis would be one of those, what with the Extremely Christian Message. He did, though. I can’t recapitulate him in any effective way, so I’ll just say this: he captures the pretty, the not-so-pretty, the sentimental, the unacceptable, the furious, the devastated nature of my day-to-day.
For those who don’t have a vested interest in reading about hospitals or death, I’d particularly recommend two books out of this lot: The Hollywood Economist and Like You’d Understand, Anyway. The former’s a fascinating look inside the financial dealings of movie studios. Who knew that they’re mostly able to avoid taking on financial risk? As for the latter, you will find it completely unfair that Shepard can capture so many different times and places in such a gorgeously poignant way. He goes from Chernobyl to ancient Rome to a study of middle-American football teams with an excellent sense for situation and a piercing wit. Each story is a gem (except the last; didn’t love it; have read one too many with the same conceit). He walks the boundary between “literary” and “genre” fiction in a very different way than, say, Kelly Link and her crew, but I think he does so remarkably effectively. A+, Shepard. Now go write some more for me!