11 March 2015

Someday, Someday Maybe, by Lauren Graham

This was an entertaining, engaging, well done novel. Lauren Graham is a well-known actress, but obviously has other talent.

The novel is a first-person account of a young woman in New York City trying to find work as an actress. It's written with humor as well as down-to-earth realism, but is not sentimental or overly cute. Characters were well-drawn and believable. I read this book quickly and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Here's a review from the Washington Post.

03 March 2015

Left for Dead, by J.A. Jance

An audio book.

I've read (and listened to) many novels by Jance, back to her old J. P. Beaumont series set in Seattle. I enjoyed the Beaumonts, and read some of the Joanna Brady series. I think this is the first one in the Ali Reynolds series, set in the Southwest.

This book isn't too great. There's far too much exposition into character's back-stories. I will put some of the blame on the narrator, who I found to be just a little annoying. The plot, however, is keeping me interested enough to (maybe) finish listening to it. [Update: I did finish listening.]

This is probably a book that I would not read. As a way to relieve commuter boredom, it's marginal. I have found myself punching the radio button more than once to relieve my frustration with it. This is an ironic contrast to Rushdie's Satanic Verses, which I recently finished listening to. That was a book that I probably would have given up on reading due to its complexity and inaccessibility, but having listened to the text, I now look forward to reading it in print some day.

Maybe Jance has just gone on too long. I don't know.

jajance.com is a frustrating web site. I was trying to find a bibliography there, but grew tired of 404 errors and Flash book advertisements. Sigh. I did actually find what I was looking for by searching from outside the web site, which led me to this page, contained within it.

The Confabulist, by Steven Galloway

In this novel, a principle character is Harry Houdini, the magician and escape artist of the early 20th century. There are other actual people in the cast, such as Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. In his post-Holmes life, Doyle was very interested in spiritualism. Houdini was very interested in the debunking of spiritualism. He saw it as a tragic confidence game, taking advantage of bereaved people.

The narrator is Martin Strauss. Strauss is fictional, as far as I know.

There is a good review and plot summary here. [New York Times] I can do no better.

I understand that Galloway is a young writer. I look forward to reading more by him. This novel was particularly entertaining.

Memory Loss -- a couple of books to read, maybe....

This review is about two books that deal with memory loss.

Find Me, by Laura Van den Berg, is a novel. I haven't read Van den Berg before, as I recall. The review mentions a short-story collection written before this novel, Isle of Youth, that sounds worth reading as well.

I have read one book by Kazuo Ishiguro, and attempted another. This review announces the publication of The Buried Giant, by Mr. Ishiguro. The book that I read, and greatly enjoyed, was Remains of the Day. I don't think that book appears in this journal, I think I read it before I started this project. The book that I attempted was The Unconsoled.  A copy of this sits on a shelf at home. Every time I see it I wonder if I should try it again. Previous forays have been unsuccessful.

Hmm. This just in (4 March 2015). I noticed a Tweet from NPR Books about  The Buried Giant, which doesn't make it sound tempting. "Lost in its own fog" kinda reminds me of how I felt about The Unconsoled.  Some day maybe we should have a talk about who reads certain books. Here's the NPR Books Review.