Wednesday, January 31, 2007

On the Fence Book Club

Here are some (very brief) thoughts on a few books I have read (or not read) lately. Yes, you're right, I'm just blogging this to show that I actually read the occasional book and not just blogs, Slate articles about meat and The People. Look at me! I have a library card!

Atonement by Ian McEwan:

This is probably the only novel about writing novels that I would actually recommend unreservedly. I went through a pro-pomo phase, then an anti-pomo phase, but I think now I can judge a book on its merit whether pomo is a gogo or a nono.

I suppose Atonement is not about writing novels really, though, but more about how we all write the novel of our life in our heads. It's also about Dunkirk and working in a hospital in World War II and a hot (and only slightly implausible) love scene in a library. What I'm amazed by is McEwan's ability to make a chapter about children at play as suspenseful as the climax of a spy novel.

Also: I like that childhood is not equated with innocence and purity in Atonement. In a way, the book is about growing up and how it is a good thing to do so. Not something you get in most romanticized accounts of youth.

Oh, I cried at the end too. I'm tearing up a bit just thinking about it really.

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby:

Yes, clearly I'm trying to catch up on my British fiction. I enjoyed this muchly, if only because the protagonist's record store is in Crouch End and so am I... er, if I walk for 15 minutes.

I think every woman should read this book. Wait, scratch that... Hide this book from every woman!

Books I took out of the library and returned without finishing, part of my new plan to only read books that I'm enjoying: Yellow Dog by Martin Amis and Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie.

What I'm almost finished reading right now: How Happy To Be by Katrina Onstad. (Not to be confused with How to Be Good by Nick Hornby.) Yes, clearly I'm also trying to catch up my Canadian books written by ex-employees of the National Post.

Wait... maybe I should write a book. And develop a consistent style for what I bold and italicize on my blog. Nah...

Other things I like that aren't books:

1. 24. Yes, I'm downloading it ahead after it airs in North America rather than suffering the three-week (at least) delay for it to appear on British television. Sorry Sky One, but get with the globalized world.

2. Camille. Oh my god, what an awesometastic album!

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