Monday, February 28, 2011

Must Read Monday: Beatrice & Virgil by Yann Martel

 This week's post for Must-Read Monday belongs to Yann Martel's novel, Beatrice and Virgil, which is now out in paperback.  As with his previous book, Life of Pi, Martel puts animal allegory to good use again, layered over a very postmodern meta-fiction structure. Ostensibly about a writer who has lost his creativity, this book is actually an exploration of how inadequate words are to describe the Holocaust. This book is so haunting and provocative that I could not stop thinking about for days.

If you'd like to learn a little more about this book, check out this post about my chance to meet Yann Martel in person at the New England Independent Booksellers Association office -- it was a great day!


Friday, February 25, 2011

The Sunday Question

What's your favorite guilty pleasure read?

So many books, so little time. And yet, with all the great new books out there, all the literary novels I drool over, I do spend time reading things I know I oughtn't. My time would be much better spent reading the new T.C.Boyle, When the Killing's Done
for instance, rather than this month's Martha Stewart Living, but I can't seem to help myself. 

I love magazines. I love their glossy pages, their lush photos of food and plants. O Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, Saveur, and the above-mentioned Martha Stewart Living are a few of my guilty pleasures.

Emily Crowe's is Harry Potter fan fiction. To quote her,"
There's a lot of schlock out there, but some of it is really quite excellent.
 has the highest concentration of well-written Harry Potter fanfiction that I've ever seen, so it's a go-to reading site for me."

I also have to admit a weakness for cozy mysteries, like Laura Child's Tea Shop series, or indeed any book with recipes at the end. 

Two new books have satisfied that craving. The first is also a very well-written and compelling memoir about a journalist's life in war-time Iraq, Day of Honey. Anna Ciedzalo weaves her experiences meeting with Iraqi politicians and clerics with her memories of food and feasts. So in addition to being a foodie book, it also has the merit of being educational. I was feeling rather chuffed after reading it, since I don't usually read non-fiction which involves war, and it seemed like an accomplishment to finally have read something of substance about the war in Iraq.

The second book provided a very different reading experience. The Pioneer Woman, Black Heels and Tractor Wheels, is the real-life romance of a cowboy and a city girl, from Ree Drummond's fun blog, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman.

What's your guilty reading pleasure?