Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Books I've Read Recently.

Since I'm done with college (for-ev-er), I finally have time to read for pleasure.

Books I've Read Since I've Graduated:

Night by Elie Wiesel
I'm not sure if I liked this novel. It's a memoir about the author's years in the concentration camp, Auschwitz. I don't like the author's style of writing all that much, and I don't know that I like the author in this memoir. I feel a bit guilty about that, because he suffered a lot, but there you go. His writing irritates me. It's like he's continuously trying to shock us. That's something weird of me to say, because it is about the Holocaust, a terrible time, but I don't think the events are presented naturally. It's like "blah blah blah SHOCK," like he has to punctuate the end of every paragraph with something terrible, and it's something he's doing for style, not because things actually happened that way. And okay, at the beginning of the memoir we read about Wiesel's childhood, before the concentration camp (he was a teen while he was at Auschwitz), and he's presented as an exceptionally devout Jew, he's all about religion and God, etc. Then, the first minute he's in Auschwitz, he abandons his faith. Just...okay? What conviction there, you know? * 1/2

The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve
This book made me so angry when I finished. I finished it before bed, so I couldn't sleep after! It's about a woman's quest to discover what happened the night her husband's plane crashed (he was the pilot--it's actually interesting what happened with the plane, but I'll leave that aspect of the plot unspoiled). Along the way, she discovers some things about her husband--such as, oh, he had another family in England (and his second wife actually knew about his first)! This book made me angry because the man was such a bastard to do that to his wife (ajdfgjdfg) and because the book doesn't resolve anything! I hate mysteries, and it's never revealed what the hell the husband was thinking. Did he still love his first wife (the narrator)? Why didn't he just divorce her if he fell in love with someone else? Etc. I hate unresolved or open endings. I think it's either the author being lazy, or the author trying to be "smart," both things I hate. Also? Their daughter was having sex at fourteen. Oh, excuse me, barely fourteen. What the hell?! **

And don't we always have our best thoughts when we're half asleep? I had some great ones about this book after I read it, but I can't remember them! I was thinking something about how the husband-as-pilot was some kind of metaphor about men and women. Also something about how having two families was uniquely a man thing to do. A woman can't pull off that kind of deception. Not because we aren't bastardly enough, but physically we can't do it. Sure we can have affairs, but we can't have two distinct families. If a woman is pregnant, there ain't no hiding that. At the end of nine months, what would she tell her first husband? "Oh, I just got really fat for a while there."

Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz
This book wanted to be all mysterious and suspenseful, but it was kind of obvious from the first several chapters that Sister A didn't deliberately kill Sister B, because the author tried too hard to make us think she did. Overall a decent read, though. **


Nick said...

Elie Wiesel was a little to militant for me.

Nick said...

Ever "read" Maus? I thought that was much better. Plus it didn't leave me thinking, "shit is that all?"

Stefanie said...

Yeah, I get what you mean about Wiesel. I would agree. Maybe I'm supposed to feel bad about not liking his memoir because he went through and lost so much, but I don't believe in turning off literary criticism.

And I had never heard of Maus before, so no. I just googled it, though, and it looks interesting (though weird?). But--Nazi Germans as cats? Not cool!

Nick said...

Give it a shot - you will really like it. Sometime I can let you borrow. Actually Sarah has it :D