Just finished: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. This one took me a little while to get into, but I ended up enjoying it very much! The plot sounds like a thriller: Deep in South America, an opera performance in the Vice President’s house becomes a hostage situation when terrorists swarm in through the air ducts during the encore. But despite this alarming premise, this is actually a slow-moving, character-driven kind of novel. I don’t mean any of those things in a negative way; the characters are interesting and endearing, and the interactions between the hostages (most of whom do not speak a common language) and between the terrorists and the hostages are surprising, touching, and sometimes funny. After the leisurely pace of most of the book, I thought the ending was startlingly abrupt, but it was satisfying nonetheless.
Currently reading: I literally just finished Bel Canto last night, so I haven’t picked up another title yet. I’m torn on what direction to go next- I need some motivation around my house, so I’m thinking about rereading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. But I also have a pretty large stack of fiction waiting for me by my favorite chair (see photo above), ranging from a Maisie Dobbs mystery to the more serious The Kitchen House to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (I feel super ambivalent about reading this at all- haven’t made up my mind yet.). So, we’ll see. I’ll have this question settled by later in the day, though!
On the Kindle: I’m totally out of the habit of reading digital books, which is partly great because I’m on a crusade to be on my phone less. But it’s also frustrating, because I keep buying ebooks on sale that I really do want to read! So I have kind of a large queue building up. I recently started The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language, and it IS interesting and accessible. But it’s not the kind of story that keeps pulling me back like a magnet, so it’s slow going.
On Audio: I’m listening to Sense and Sensibility, and, ya’ll: Marianne is about to kill this one for me. She drives me CRAZY, and Willoughby isn’t even on the scene yet.
Recent and Notable: Earlier this fall I read The End of the Affair. I started it on Audible because Colin Firth was the narrator. But I couldn’t follow the plot (my problem, not Colin’s), so I switched to a hard copy that I’d picked up for pennies at a used book sale. This book was interesting, but not at all what I thought I was getting into! Yes, it’s about an affair between a man (the narrator) and a woman (his married neighbor). But it’s just as much about the friendship that develops between the narrator and the the woman’s husband years after the affair concludes. And even more than either of those, it’s kind of a heavy Catholic-conversion story (I didn’t see that coming). So, as a whole, this was interesting, but not very emotionally engaging or satisfying for me.
“A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.” -Graham Greene, The End of the Affair
Any recommendations about what I should bump to the top of my reading list? What are YOU reading right now?