A dad and his daughters, loving life in New York City

Friday, February 24

three good books

well with both boco AND dglass away on vacations (washington dc and buenos aries, respectively), i haven't really been doing much that's bloggable this week... though on tuesday i did grab dinner with a friend at sushi hana, on amsterdam in the low 80s. i've now had their spicy chirashi three times, and each time it's been pretty tasty.

anyway, what i've really been loving recently is reading. i mean, i always love reading, but you know how you sometimes get on a roll, and everything you pick up is a total winner? that's the way it's been with for about a month or so. here's my last three novels, all of which, i think, do an excellent job of evoking what it feels like to be alive.

prep by curtis sittenfeld the setting is ault, a small new england boarding school (think concord academy, where i spent a year back in 1976; or groton, sittenfeld's alma mater); the narrator is lee fiora, a not-terribly-pretty, not-terribly-smart, painfully self-conscious and self-centered scholarship kid from south bend, indiana; the feelings she invokes as she takes us through her four years at ault are everything you struggled with in high school, everything you wish you could go back and change, everything you've ever disliked about yourself. it's a pitch-perfect portrait of teen angst that stays honest with itself right through the end.

extremely loud and incredibly close by jonathan safron-foer first things first: i couldn't get into jsf's first book, the much-loved everything is illuminated. twice i tried, twice i put it down. so i was definitely not predisposed to even pay much notice to el&ic. except dglass read it and cried and cried and couldn't stop talking about it. so i had to try it... and i cried and cried and couldn't stop talking about it. really: this is is probably the most affecting, most beautiful, most unforgettable book i've read in years and years. at the center of the story, and the novel's primary narrator, is nine-year-old, nyc-kid oskar schell, whose father has just died in the sept 11th world trade center attacks. his emotional journey to try to make sense of his father's murder, his instinctive strategies for dealing with feelings he can't even begin to let loose, his courage, his character, his sense of humor, his creativity, his humanity... yeah, you're not going to forget oskar anytime soon.

saturday by ian mcewan henry perowne is a comfortable, prosperous, 40-something london neurosurgeon, husband to the head legal counsel at one of the city's newspapers, father to two clever, talented, loving teenager/young adult children. life is good.... so why doesn't it feel that way? as we follow the ruminating, almost pompous, mostly likable henry step-by-step through a saturday of banal chores and extraordinary--and, as it turns out, extraordinarily violent--events, mcewan's riffs on security and aging and parenting and fear and racism and despair and love and a post-9/11 world where anything can happen are smart, provocative, and entirely welcome.



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