Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Three Is a Magic Number

I finished the month of June with three wonderful books: Night by Elie Wiesel (a reread, and powerful every time), Tinkers by Paul Harding, and The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry.

Night hardly needs my summary here; if you have not read Elie Wiesel's memoir of the Holcaust, you simply must. Each time I read it again, I am moved not only by the elegance of his writing about such a terrible history, but also by the power of this tribute to his father.

Tinkers made its way to my Kindle after unexpectedly winning the Pulitzer Prize. Harding's prose is lovely; a true work of literary art. A simple, interesting story is uplifted by Harding's wonderfully artistic use of the English language. It is certainly a book I will reread, as much for the beauty of its prose as anything else.

The Lace Reader
was a surprisingly compelling novel! I started just more than 24 hours ago and found it hard to set down; Alice Hofmann meets Chuck Pahlaniuk, if you can even imagine that. I won't share a bit of the plot as it is simply a book that begs to be read--and anyway, I don't want to give anything away. (I will say that it is set in Salem, and I especially enjoyed the strong sense of place, having visited Salem more than once!)

Unrelated to the narrative itself, I found it interesting when the (self-confessed unreliable) narrator observed that during the time of the Salem witch hysteria, no "witch" was hanged if she confessed to witchcraft. While this does ring true, it also requires some research on my part to verify. I have spent some time this spring learning about my 8th great-grandfather's sister, Elizabeth Emerson, who was hung for infanticide and (I still can't believe this) whoredom. Elizabeth's notoriety grew when she supposedly made a confession to Cotton Mather in the days before her death. As Elizabeth appears to have been unable to read or write, I have always thought perhaps Mather "invented" her supposed confession; I wonder now if it was an attempt to avoid the gallows and return to her young daughter, about whom nothing is know after her mother's death.An intriguing possibility, and one that bears investigation.

So, books for the month of June:
  1. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
  2. The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker
  3. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer
  4. Three Witches by Paula Jolin
  5. The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano
  6. Fallen by Lauren Kate
  7. Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
  8. Night by Elie Wiesel
  9. Tinkers by Paul Harding
  10. The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
That's 44 books for 2010; I'd better keep reading if I'm to achieve my goal of 100!

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