Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What would you read?

I need a piece of semi-contemporary fiction to take the edge off of War and Peace. I've nothing underway at the moment, but three books that might suit the purpose are within arm's reach.

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand is one of those books I purchased in 2005 and "saved" to read after returning to Poland. I've been here over a year but haven't cracked the cover. I have read Atlas Shrugged twice, as well as We the Living (a much shorter book). As I understand it, The Fountainhead is a sort of prequel, not to the novel, but to the ideas in Atlas Shrugged. It is nearly 700 pages long, and it is a toss of the coin whether I will become entirely engrossed and read it one huge gulp (as happened with her other fiction), or whether I will get bored and lay it aside to continue waiting.

Some time ago, a friend suggested I might enjoy The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I have never read anything by this author, except the first few pages of this book, just to get a taste of the writing style. It's another hefty book, over 600 pages long, and one I actually declared I would read for the Chunkster Challenge. The big question is...will this book demand my attention until I reach the last page or will I be able to pace the reading alongside my ever-present Tolstoy?

Finally, there is Remembering by Wendell Berry. A lot of people I know are reading, admiring, and recommending Wendell Berry this year, and I picked up a book of "Three Short Novels" at the used bookstore here in Krakow, pleased that they had something by this author. I was more than a little overwhelmed by the death theme of the first short novel, Nathan Coulter, and I have been a bit skittish about reading further. Nevertheless, Remembering is only 100 pages long and can't demand too much of my time and attention. The first word/sentence of Nathan Coulter is, "Dark." The first sentence of Remembering is, "It is dark." I don't know...

I know what I'm going to do tonight. I'm going to walk away from my desk, grab something comfortable and familiar, and reread something I know I will like.

But what would you read next?


At 6:43 AM , Blogger Sherry said...

I read Poisonwood Bible about a month ago and had mixed feelings about it. I didn't think some of the characters were very believable, but on the other hand it was absorbing and it did hold my interest. I haven't read the othr two, so I guess I would suggest Poisonwood Bible.

At 7:06 AM , Blogger MaureenE said...

I love Wendell Berry but haven't read Remembering. Still, based on his past performance, I would reccomend that one. I'm a bit wary of Barbara Kingsolver although she writes very well indeed.

At 5:02 PM , Blogger Phyllis said...

I only have opinions on the first two, never read the third. Poisonwood Bible isn't all that great. I'd go for Ayn Rand first any day!

At 8:34 PM , Blogger Mama Squirrel said...

OK, I'll be the different voice. If you start reading The Poisonwood Bible, you'll have to keep reading it, even if you feel that the book should really be over when they leave Africa. I struggled a bit with that (whether I wanted to know what happened to them afterwards or not) but I kept reading and in the end I was glad I did...if only for the lessons on 20th century African politics! And lots of different viewpoints on Christian missionary work.

At 2:53 AM , Blogger Ruth said...

Mama Squirrel, the part of The Poinsonwood Bible after the girls had grown up is the best part of the book, in my opinion. Perhaps my own history (growing up as a missionary kid in Africa) colors my opinion, but I loved this book.


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