Thursday, April 23, 2009

currently reading

The past couple week have been s-l-o-w in the reading department, which seems so shameful because I have piles of juicy books from the library, as well as the recent purchases. I hate when this happens...this casting about for something to read when I have plenty to good books right in front of me. So, I'm enjoying whatever I manage to read.

~ Acqua Alta, Donna Leon's fifth Brunetti mystery. I love this one!! My favorite, to date. Art theft, an incredible depiction of Venice’s seasonal high waters (the annual flooding sounds awful), a dramatic search-and-rescue that I hadn’t expected, and the return of characters from Death at la Fenice, the first book in the series. Here is the opening paragraph:
Domestic tranquility prevailed. Flavia Petrelli, the reigning diva of La Scala, stood in the warm kitchen and chopped onions. In separate heaps in front of her lay a pile of plum tomatoes, two cloves of garlic chopped into fine slices, and two plump-bottomed aubergines. She stood at the marble counter, bent over the vegetables, and she sang, filling the room with the golden tones of her soprano voice. Occasionally, she pushed at a lock of dark hair with the back of her wrist, but it was no sooner anchored behind her ear than it sprang loose and fell across her cheek.
And I'm reading an occasional story from Lauren Groff's acclaimed collection, Delicate Edible Birds. I was going to write that I was a little underwhelmed by the stories though still very drawn to them. Then I read a few stories that were moving: “Fugue,” which has multiple, converging storylines, and “Majorette,” which seemed simple initially, then pulled on my emotions until I found myself crying. I had no idea the story was going to go in that direction. I look forward to reading Monsters of Templeton to see what Groff can do with the longer fiction form.

Finally, I am "reading" Loving Frank, the bestselling historical novel about Frank Lloyd Wright, by Nancy Horan, on unabridged audio. I detest this sort of historical fiction for too many reasons to list here. But, it's really easy to listen to, and I find myself wanting to do more commuting or run longer errands to spend more time with it. I’m on Chapter 38, past the midpoint, and I suspect that this novel really isn’t about Frank Lloyd Wright at all. At the least, I don’t trust that much is based on fact, except for maybe a timeline—i.e., that he lived in a particular place at a particular time or that he visited Europe in a certain year. The feminist theme plays stronger for me than Mamah Cheney’s affair with FLW.

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