Thursday, June 2, 2005

Boleyn, Balzac and Bryson

I am doggedly plowing through the final part of The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. Most people loved the book and the book has been flying off the shelves at BHPL as well as other libraries. For me though, Anne Boleyn's demise and the end of the book can't come soon enough. She comes across as a fascinating, driven, ruthlessly ambitious and generally disagreeable person, but the style of the book falls somewhere between serviceable and deadly prose, IMHO.

At the same time, I am reading Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress about two young men dispatched to the countryside in China to be "re-educated" during the early 1970's. This book is well written, wryly funny and goes very quickly.

I just finished an offbeat book: The Schopenhauer Cure byIrvin Yalom which alternates chapters about a psychotherapy group and the life of the famously gloomy philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. The book has a bit of a problem deciding whether it is a biography or a novel, but it was informative and completely different from most books I've read.

Also on my pile of books to be read are: Bill Bryson's African Diary; Library, an Unquiet History by Matthew Battles; several books on painting technique and keeping sketchbooks and Book Lust by Nancy Pearl, a librarian famous in the library world as a Reader's Advisor and also noted for having been the model and inspiration for the Librarian Action Figure with Amazing Shooshing Action which stands on a small shelf in my house next to a pile of miniature books in a kind of shrine to librarianship and reading.

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