Thursday, June 16, 2005

Currently Gracing My Nightstand

I finished reading The Poisonwood Bible, which I enjoyed immensely. (Thanks for the recommendation, Huilo!) It was amazing how many people would come up to me in the Metro or on the street to tell me that they had read the book and loved it. The alternating viewpoints were well-done; often, such techniques are campy or hokey in the hands of a less talented writer. It also has a satisfying conclusion. My one quibble with the book, however, is that it doesn't stop at the conclusion, but dribbles on for two or three more chapters that get progressively more nonsensical and unnecessary.

On a side note, I was reading this at the height of the horrible heat wave here in D.C. Sometimes, I would be engrossed in the book, walk up the stairs out of the Metro and into the humid air and for a split second, I would feel disoriented, as through the book had crept into real life.

On another, completely unrelated side note, a number of the aforementioned strangers who came up to comment on the book mentioned how "shocking" it was. It was, indeed, deeply tragic and at times cringe-inducingly tense, as you fought the urge to yell at the characters "Don't do that! It can only lead to something bad!". However, to anyone with even a moderate grasp of post-colonial African history-- or a passing knowledge of the lyrics to We Didn't Start the Fire-- there is nothing particularly shocking about the book-- except maybe the fact that all these years later, we still haven't learned our lesson.

Anyway, now I'm reading The View From Saturday. E.L. Konigsburg has always been one of my favorite authors, ever since my fourth grade teacher gave me a beat up paperback copy of From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, telling me that I reminded her a bit of Claudia. I take that as a high compliment. E.L. Konigsburg's kids are wise and complex, but not perfect or infalliable. They don't blindly follow the adults in their lives, but neither are they precocious wunderkinder who run the lives of the adults. I am immensely enjoying "The View From Saturday". I've only got maybe 40 pages or so left, and the best thing about E.L. Konigsburg is that I truly cannot guess what the outcome is going to be.



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