Monday, October 5, 2009

she ruined me!

After gulping down Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, I tried (oh, how I tried) to start a new book (well, several of them, actually) but nothing grabbed my interest. I started The memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots by Carolly Erickson and thought, ho hum, another book about the Elizabethan era...(You know how addicted I am to anything about Henry/Elizabeth and their historical cohorts so not reading a book about that time period is not typical behavior.). Then I tried Once on a moonless night by Dai Sijie who wrote the fabulous Balzac and the little Chinese seamstress but after 4 days of reading less than 30 pages (word of advice: don't start a book with an incredibly long "lecture" about history--more action is required to pique the reader's interest) I gave up. What was I going to read?

I really truly enjoyed An uncommon reader, a novella by playwright Alan Bennett but it is short, short, short and it was my bedside book. In it, Queen Elizabeth stumbles upon a mobile library (bookmobile in America) parked near Buckingham Palace. Because she doesn't want to appear uninterested, she checks out a book and reads it. Not the best book, but somewhat enjoyable nonetheless. Better than checking out a book, she meets Norman in the mobile library--a kitchenworker and devoted reader who takes her under his literary wing. He introduces her to new writers and old writers and is such an inspiration she hires him on as an assistant. Needless to say, her newfound love of reading puts a kink in the everyday running of the palace. The queen starts wearing outfits more than once to public appearances, she runs late after years of complete punctuality and, horrors, she starts asking her subjects what they read! (Harry Potter is not a good answer because the queen does not enjoy fantasy. Harumph.)

I was getting desparate--what was I going to read?

A couple weeks ago, I was listening to NPR in my car, an interview with author Michael Rubens about his novel The sheriff of Yrnameer. Bingo! The book for me. It is science fiction, set in a universe following the destruction of Earth. Planets, satellites, space stations are all sponsored by companies, various and sundry. The lone exception is Yrnameer (or Your Name Here) which has managed to escape the notice of corporate sponsors. It is wickedly funny, full of unexpected characters (many of them alien or stranger in nature) and wildly occurring plot twists. Lots of fun--especially since it is way off the beaten track of my reading choices.

My new bedside book is Going bovine by Libba Bray, author of the Gemma Doyle series about the Spence Academy. I loved those books. Well, I'm in for a completely different reading experience with the new book! The first clue: the cover picture of a cow with a yard gnome under her arm! I read the acknowledgements at the beginning of the book and was out and out guffawing! Laughter was definitely not part of the books about Gemma. I've only read a few pages and cannot wait to crawl into my warm and cozy bed tonight to read a few (hopefully a greater number) more!

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