Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An Update On Books

I haven't mentioned books much here lately. I'm still reading, albeit at a slower more leisurely pace than last year. This year, reading has taken a back seat to crafting and other activities so it's more of a past time and not quite the goal it used to be. I actually had to look through old posts to find what my reading goal even is this year---35 books. Having just finished book 25, I think I'm well on my way to reaching it.

The book I most recently finished was Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint. It took me a long time to read this book, close to three weeks. For one thing, my copy is four hundred pages of very small print, which tends to overwhelm me. Then when I actually started getting into it, I realized how lush and detailed the story is. There was no "skimming" this book, for fear that I'd miss something.

The book, like a lot of de Lint's work, takes place in the fictional city of Newford, which is just like any other modern city, except for the presence of magical creatures and faeries. The story centers around artist Isabelle Copley. After Isabelle has a chance meeting with the great artist Vincent Rushkin, she begins to study under him and share his studio. Under his tutelage Isabelle thrives and is eventually able to become a successful artist. This is mostly due to the magical ability she has that Rushkin has made her aware of, the power to paint "gateways" for creatures to enter our world. Soon everything she paints comes to life. Very early on though, Isabelle learns that Rushkin has a dark, violent side, that he can't be trusted, and that possibly there is a very sinister reason he wants Isabelle to paint gateways.

There is so much more that I want to say about this book, but I worry that giving anymore details would just reveal too much of the plot. (I'm thinking of logging onto Goodreads and discussing it with other people who liked it, then maybe arguing with people who hated it. Is this what nerds do?) It's a slow moving tale, but not in a way that drags. It's just a very rich and layered story with a lot to explore. The ending is amazing, going from grotesque and nightmarish to dreamlike and beautiful in the span of forty some pages. The book itself really is a work of art and I can't wait to read more de Lint.

But.......I really should tackle the ever growing stacks on my nightstand:
Some of these were bought by me or Jay, some are Dawn's, but most came from Freecycle or were found on the side of the road in boxes of yard sale leftovers, which is how I got this one:The Young Unicorns by Madeleine L'Engle. Have any of you read this book or know anything about it? I know L'Engle has written a few Young Adult novels but I've never heard of this one. It takes place in 1960's New York City, a setting I absolutely love so I'm excited to start reading it. First though, I want to finish The Ice Storm and the Sookie book I started a month ago. Next time I complain about not having money to buy books, someone please slap me.


Nowheymama said...

What a great stack of books! It's like Christmas.

I haven't read The Young Unicorns in YEARS. It's one of her books about the Austin family, although it doesn't deal with them directly, I don't think.

I saw her speak when I was in high school; she was amazing.

Aleta said...

Ohhhh, Darn.. I have two books waiting to be read and now you just added a third one I need to go buy!! Thanks for doing the write up on the book. I love it when people do that.

Daphne said...

What a fun stack of books you have there. I've never read that L'Engle book, although I remember seeing it at my school library (I love her Wrinkle In Time series *so much*).

So glad you liked the de Lint!! He's amazing. That story (Memory and Dream) really stayed with me. I actually read it 10 years ago and then recently re-read it, and had forgotten the ending, so it was shocking all over again.

Mari said...

Ooh, your book stack looks juicy! I need to finish what I've started before I get more. What is that Tama Janowitz one in your pile? I love her.

Tammie said...

nowhey: thanks for the info. i really knew nothing about it and can't even find a synopsis online.

aleta: i do too. i love to read peoples thoughts on books.

daphne: im loving de lint and i definitely want to read the onion girl next since jilly is one of my favorite characters.

mari: its called a certain age and i dont know much about it either(or the author for that matter) other than that it takes place in the hamptons, another setting i love. id be happy to pass it on to you when im done.

Mari said...

Thanks! -but don't trouble yourself, I'll go to the library!

Betts said...

I can't seem to read lately. Three or four pages and I can't keep my eyes open.

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

I see Whistling in the Dark is in the stack. I hope it's on the short list to read...I just finished it and don't know anyone else who read it.

kraftykash said...

For yrs I had issues with buying books, mostly for the kids. I always get them from thrift stores or garage sales. Then I quit doing that and really got into the library. Now Im wishing I had my own. My son all of a sudden is reading on his own, without being asked. I have nothing to offer.

Sorry, didnt mean to blabber on there. I have not been around adults all week. :)

Happy Reading!!

Jessica said...

I've been reading a lot lately, but slowly as well. I have some new ones to add to my list now that I've read your post!

Tammie said...

sitting on the mood swing: ooh, maybe ill have to move it up. ive been putting that one off because i didnt know anyone who had read it and just from the back it seems like a downer that i didnt want to read "by myself."

kash: i know what you mean. my son has to be nagged to read but sometimes i see him doing it on his own and i wish i had more to offer him. i try to take him to buy books on his own from time to time, but he really has to be in the mood.

Bridge said...

tammie. you inspire me! get readin girl!!!