All posts tagged: Book Review

The Story of a Marriage by Andrew Sean Greer

I live on the other side of the bay from San Francisco, so I listen to KALW radio. That’s how I heard his name, and his voice I think. So when I stood in front of his book at Moe’s one Sunday afternoon, an autographed copy, I thought I might be missing something if I stopped at the suggestion of the title: it would be a boring story of some successful marriage by perfect people. I read the first page, and thought this might be good. “We think we know the ones we love.” Okay, whatever, it’s still a happy marriage story. “Our husbands, our wives. We know them — we are them, sometimes; when separated at a party we find ourselves voicing their opinions their taste in food or books, telling an anecdote that never happened to us but happened to them.” I was ready to put it back on the shelf. I think I did. I took a walk to the literary remainders, you know, the $6 Everyman Library classic that you’ll get …

On Chesil Beach

On Chesil Beach: A Novel by Ian McEwan I love it, first because I could read it in two seatings (big novels are, how can I put it, intimidating, and lose me in the middle). OK, seriously: this is the second McEwan that I read (the other was Saturday), and every time I am enchanted by his craft, i.e. the way he forms sentences that flow and go back deep in the train of thought of his characters to tell you how they ever got where they are now. So, would anyone say, how can he keep you reading this story about the failure to have sex on the night of one’s honeymoon? For one, it talks about a huge myth, the one that makes people hang soiled sheets at the honeymooners’ window in Sicily. While reading it, I thought, “shouldn’t they just relax about it and talk, maybe see a counselor?” And that is what people don’t do. People assume they’re deficient. They build tension on trifles just because Love was suddenly distilled to …

Arthur and George

Arthur and George, by Julian Barnes. Knopf, 2006.  ISBN 0-307-26310-X I was at Bookshop Santa Cruz – funny how a visit to towns like Santa Cruz end up at that bookstore – and this book on the New Fiction table just jumped at me and said, “buy me.”  It had, of course, the appeal of being hard bound, which I really like, and of having that round sticker on it that said “Autographed Copy.”  Yes, I remembered, this Julian Barnes was around, and I never paid attention.  I heard him on the radio, on KALW, but sometimes I hear the radio and don’t listen – or so I thought.  In a definite leap of faith, I bought the book – my friends and I had just discussed how I was frugal when I didn’t need to be. Arthur and George takes the reader through short episodes in the distinct lives of Arthur and George, entitled, “Arthur” and “George” until they are merged to “Arthur and George” in an episode that does not talk about either of them.  The expectation builds up: …

Book Reviews

Book Reviews? I noticed this morning that I read the Sunday SF Chronicle’s Book Review section more than any other.  My favorites – Comics, of course, Travel, Datebook – had all been made available by a generous patron of Printer’s Inc Café, and I snatched them as soon as the presumed generous patron had abandoned them on the table.  I then noticed that many reviews are written by people who are probably not employed at the paper, and who knows if they are even paid for it.  And then, why wouldn’t I try to publish a review of my recently read books on my blog?  That is a very contemporary thought. And so I started imagining what I would say about the most recent one, which will be the subject of the next article.  I figured I should start with a confession as a preamble. I don’t know why I have grown up liking to be among books, because I had hardly received any stimulation at home or in school.  I just liked going through the stacks, reading the titles, making …