Monday, September 21, 2009

A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe

I cannot believe I've only posted once in September. This month has been so busy; it seems I haven't had a half hour to spare. For those of you who know me personally, you know this type of schedule is not what I've been used to for the past decade. Working takes it toll, and unfortunately, this blog was the coin paid. I finally have a few minutes to spare and wanted to update everyone on my reading. I loved the book I'm So Happy for You by Lucinda Rosenfeld; it is a high-grade chick lit venture into the cattiness that simmers then boils between childhood friends. Rosenfeld's writing is wry, dry, and satirical. A well-known American author who is a master of satire is Tom Wolfe. Best known for The Right Stuff (non-fiction about America's space program), Wolfe has also written several engaging novels. A Man in Full (his 2nd novel ) concerns aging Atlanta mogul Charlie Croker and the entanglements of his ever complicated life. Everybody seems to demand something from Charlie--friends, business rivals, employees, ex-wives, children, etc. Someone always seems to want a pound of flesh. Can Charlie Croker survive the stresses of the modern day man? Read Wolfe's large, blowsy book and find out.

P.S. Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons is also excellent.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks fictionalizes a true story of a village racked by bubonic plague in rural England in the 16oos. No stranger to tragedy, the maid Anna Frith narrates the story of the town's relegation to "plague village"and the ensuing isolation and terror. I loved this book because it shows how love and community can endure and strengthen, even amid the horror of the Black Death. Brooks doesn't hold back in describing the plague's symptoms--this trait was reason enough for me to read the book. (I have a bit of a fascination with "disease fiction" or "symptom stories.") One can't help but feel superior that the poor souls never connected the outbreak to fleas. However, the reader feels nothing but admiration for the villagers' will to survive, to endure in their encapsulated, self-sufficient world. Not a difficult read by any means, I recommend this book as great historical fiction, containing a modicum of modernity (the characters seem extremely psychologically evolved by 17th c. standards). And, if you're a plague buff, you must read it. The bubos are a sight to see in your mind's eye.