No doubt I'm missing a whole bunch of books. Here's what I can remember reading so far, this summer. It must be that I'm way cranky... because of the five I can call up, I loved only one of them, and didn't much care for the other four.
A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD by Jennifer Egan:
Pulitzer prize? Really?? A couple months down the road, and I can't remember what it was about. (Clearly my problem and not Egan's... but... just saying...) Remember enjoying it well enough, but thinking it didn't hold a candle to a number of other recent novels-via-linked-short-story oeuvres. (See my earlier and more cogent blog post on these.) Methinks Egan sorta, kinda smacks of the very clever but self-conscious literary pyrotechnics by those guys who are so trendy right now--Franzen (earlier blog post) et al... and they're, well, men... and so the Pulitzer to, um, let's find the woman who's writing like those literary luminaries du jour. Hey... I liked GOON SQUAD. But I didn't love it.
THE UNCOUPLING by Meg Wolitzer:
My own Mr. Uncoupling gave this book to me for our first uncoupled anniversary, after 32 coupled ones... sweet of him... and it's got a cute conceit--a modern day Lysistrata--but Wolitzer doesn't dig very deeply with this spoon.
BLUE HIGHWAYS by William Least Heat-Moon:
Considered a classic road trip book in the tradition of ON THE ROAD... the first 15 or 20 pages read like you're watching him highlight the route on a fusty, old map... first I went here, and then I went here, and then... and his language is a little too precious and pretty for me. Franky (my dear), I was bored. (Again, probably my problem and not Heat-Moon's.) Perhaps personal crap brings on a little ADHD... I didn't have the stamina to see if it gets better.
NATASHA by David Bezmozgis:
Yea!!! New best author! Poignant and sarcastic and funny and tender all at the same time. Economy of language; great images; sharp turns of phrase that I had to stop and read again; beautiful characters. Short stories about a family of Latvian Jewish immigrants in Toronto, with a teenage protagonist who Bezmozgis, in an interview, churlishly protesteth is not him... but is. Whatever. The guy can write.
SWAMPLANDIA! by Karen Russell:
Halfway through it. She's no Katherine Dunn.