Well, it looks like this is officially the end of my summer reading. After talking with some of my professors, it looks like I will have plenty of school-related reading to keep me busy over the next few months.
I did manage to squeeze in a few titles before the crunch of school starts.
I read A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. Here’s a summary from Goodreads:
Bennie is an aging former punk rocker and record executive. Sasha is the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Here Jennifer Egan brilliantly reveals their pasts, along with the inner lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs. With music pulsing on every page, A Visit from the Goon Squad is a startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption.
I absolutely loved parts of this book. There were moments when I felt like I wanted to jump inside and talk to the characters because they were all real people. It was so refreshing to have real characters in a novel.
One chapter about a friend who drowns really caught me, and in my opinion, pretty much made the whole book. It would have even been fine as a short story. You’ll know it when you get to it.
Scenery and description: 3/5
Continuing my music theme, I picked up Body and Soul by Frank Conroy, who was the director of the Iowa Writer’s Program. The author’s research on this novel was rather incredible, and the characters were fully developed. Summary:
Pulsing with sound and rhythm, this story, set in New York in the 1940s, brilliantly evokes the life of a child prodigy whose genius pulls him out of squalor and into the drawing rooms of the rich and a gilt-edged marriage.
There were some instances I thought the author could have gone without, and the end seemed rushed in comparison to the rich beginning, but there was one point at the end I adored and I thought made the book.
Scenery and description: 5/5
Finally, I finished Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende.
Orphaned at birth, Eliza Sommers is raised in the British colony of Valparaíso, Chile, by the well-intentioned Victorian spinster Miss Rose and her more rigid brother Jeremy. Just as she meets and falls in love with the wildly inappropriate Joaquín Andieta, a lowly clerk who works for Jeremy, gold is discovered in the hills of northern California. By 1849, Chileans of every stripe have fallen prey to feverish dreams of wealth. Joaquín takes off for San Francisco to seek his fortune, and Eliza, pregnant with his child, decides to follow him. A society of single men and prostitutes among whom Eliza moves–with the help of her good friend and savior, the Chinese doctor Tao Chien–California opens the door to a new life of freedom and independence for the young Chilean. Her search for the elusive Joaquín gradually turns into another kind of journey that transforms her over time, and what began as a search for love ends up as the conquest of personal freedom.
Isabel Allende is being praised as THE lady in Latin American fiction right now. I thought her beginning was strong, and it lasted until Eliza began her journey to San Francisco. One thing that kept me reading was the character of Tao Chien. I thought he was the backbone of the whole story, and he kept me going long after Eliza’s first romance fizzled.
Scenery and description: 3/5
What have you been reading? Read any of these?
♪ The National – Boxer – Racing Like a Pro ♪