Not the most prolific reading season, which was due to not only a lack of concentrated time, but a general malaise that I believe grew out of not being too enthralled with what I did read. At a Christmas gettogether I was discussing writing and reading with writer M. Allen Cunningham, who asked what was the last novel that blew me away, and I was unable to recall any in recent memory, which says everything that I need to about my reading
-Peter Mayle "Encore Provence" [more mildly amusing anecdotes of the South of France, none particularly distinct.]
-John Grisham "The Broker" [Started good: I almost thought it was going to be a satire, from the opening chapter's tone; and I thought it would be a welcome departure from his more Law-centric thrillers. But then it got too bogged down in Italian lessons, building to a bland finale.)
and "The Runaway Jury" [I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't seen the film version beforehand.]
-Nick Hornby "Fever Pitch" [Loved it, like I love all of Mr. Hornby's works; the only problem I had with it was that I identified too much with him upon breaching his thirties [see my "Third-Life Crisis" blog for more details]
Franz Kafka "The Castle" [I enjoyed it more than "The Trial", but I still prefer his short stories - our country's enamoration with propagating bureacracy makes what should be ridiculous in "The Castle" frustratingly prescient; only really disappointing in that I expected to enjoy rhis novel so much more], and "Amerika" [My favorite of Kafka's novels; beautiful rendering of new vs. old world; plus I always love stories about the retention of innocence amongst a streetwise society.]
Curtis White "The Idea of Home" [an interesting find; I'll expound more on it in a forthcoming blog, let me say now only that in this novel I found a compatriot where I never expected to: my town]
Also, of mention, are the meaty chunks I ripped out of "Adolescence" by John W. Santrock, and "Those Who Can, Teach" by Kevin Ryan & James M. Cooper (a big reason for the limits of my outside reading), "Putting Your Passion into Print," (the latest in my Publishing-Book-Tower of Babel), and John Grisham's "Skipping Christmas" (abandoned for a lack of time and a proper holiday spirit).
Anyone with any "blow me away" book suggestions, please email.