Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Books—a sweetness I devour

It's been a while since I wrote about the books I'm reading, so I'll do a little catch up. Last week I finished Eats, Shoots & Leaves which I wrote about on my other blog Grammar Police (drop by and visit me there too). It's a nerdy book about punctuation, but the author, Lynne Truss, is hilarious and the book was actually a New York Times best seller. If you have even a tiny interest in the English language, this book will make you laugh aloud.

I also read (actually listened to) Ian McEwan's Atonement. I wanted to read the book before I saw the movie. I'm so glad I did because so much of it takes place in the minds of the characters. The movie will undoubtedly be a different beast though I still want to see what the screen writers did with this incredible work. McEwan is so astute about human emotions—greed, guilt, fear, desire—and his ability to show all views of an event with all the potential misperceptions and misconstruals is phenomenal. He is a master of detail which slows the pace of the book immensely and it was something I found quite satisfying. However, if you like a fast paced piece, Atonement is not for you.

Atonement segues in a weird way with the book I just started on audiotape called The Stuff of Language, another nerdy, non-fiction book, this time on psycholinguistics, which is the science that looks at how language and the mind work together. The book is dense with semantic research, but I'm getting enough of it to be totally fascinated. Author Steven Pinker describes how single words can be understood differently by each of us. He then goes on to explain why this is so. He also describes how children learn language which is truly a miracle given the intricacies of language that he relates. I can't think of a single person who might enjoy this book as I am (maybe Anne or Andrea, but then again maybe not).

My books always seem to connect weirdly to my life and other things I'm reading. I'm sure this is no accident, but it always surprises me. For instance, a few weeks ago, Cindy and I watched the movie The Jane Austen Book Club. The very next day I got an email from the editor of the newspaper saying that Karen Joy Fowler, the author of the book The Jane Austen Book Club, was going to be in town in March and would I be interested in doing an article on local book clubs. I took the assignment and bought the book. This time, I read the book after seeing the movie. I'm not quite finished with it, but I will be by the time Fowler comes to town this Friday. It's a fun book and was a great movie even if you haven't read Austen (though I'm sure it is more fun if you have). The book makes me want to get back to my novel (remember NaNoWriMo and Memo?) because I was using books in a similar way when writing that novel though they weren't books by a single author.

I'm also a quarter of the way into The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs which I put aside to read Fowler's book. I'll say more about it when I finish it.

Books are the chocolate of my life . . . so sweet and delicious that I can't keep myself from devouring them.


1 comment:

Annie said...

Actually, The Stuff of Language sounds very interesting to me. It seems akin to Zero to Lazy Eight in a strange way. Too bad there are three other books ahead of this one on my reading list, which you know is decidely short.