Monday, November 09, 2009

Reading on Sunday

On Sunday morning, I woke to an email from my library reminding me that quite a few books were due back within the next few days. Argh and aack! I had yet to start on two of them, and the third, the 1000+ J.G. Ballard collection, had some 400+ pages left to go!

With such impending doom looming above my head, I settled down to a day of reading (the husband was busy with work). I began with Kazuo Ishiguro's A Pale View of Hills and in a few hours, with some pineapple tarts and green tea fueling me through the read, I was done. I was quite moved by the book. And quite surprised that I read it in one sitting, without feeling the need to turn to something else more cheery (the main character is Etsuko, a Japanese woman whose daughter has committed suicide - this makes her reminisce about her life in Nagasaki when she was pregnant with Keiko). It is a quiet story, a little odd and unsettling, and leaves the reader with more questions than answers. But it was definitely worth reading. Especially if you remember (as I only just am doing so now) that this was Ishiguro's first novel.

To take a bit of a break from that, I moved on to the next Sandman installment, Season of Mists. I had an amazing time reading the previous book, Dream Country, which was more of a collection of four different stories (I especially liked A Midsummer's Night Dream) and was looking forward to Season of Mists, in which the Endless family comes together and Lucifer shuts Hell down.

That was followed by In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin, a set of interlinked stories set in Pakistan. The stories each focus on different characters that are connected to a feudal landowner family, such as a desperate poor servant, the young mistress, the powerful farm manager. Almost all of whom are incredibly brilliant manipulators.

I've been wondering how these stories would read on their own. I think this book works very well because of the connectivity among the stories, which allows the reader to explore this world further, giving greater depth to each story, the more you read them.

(You can read one of the stories from In Other Rooms, Other Wonders online at the New Yorker.)

I reckon that was a pretty productive reading Sunday. What did you read this weekend?

Currently reading:
The Hakawati by Rabih Alameddine
Food and Loathing: A Life Measured Out in Calories by Betsy Lerner

On Stanza on the iPod TouchLady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon


Anonymous said...

I'm very jealous that your library emails you when you have books due soon; I wish mine would do that! As for your reading, I'm glad you enjoyed A Pale View of the Hills. I really like Ishiguro, and I agree, that's a book that leaves you with a lot of questions, but is still very good. I was also really interested in your review of In Other Rooms, Other Wonders; I've been meaning to read that one for awhile.

olduvai said...

It's quite a useful service! I'm really glad that the library has that (and it's an automatic enrollment). I'm definitely putting more of Ishiguro's works on my TBR list - which others would you recommend?

Anonymous said...

My favorites by Ishiguro are The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go. The Remains of the Day is the story of an English butler who is reflecting on his life and wondering if the man he served was worthy of his service. Never Let Me Go is the sort of book where I don't want to ruin the twist so I can't say too much, but the narrator is Kathy, a woman who grew up in a boarding school in an alternate-England knowing that there was something different about her and her fellow students. They are both fantastic.