The latest of my 75 books.
#17 - An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. A teenager with few social skills and lots of smarts hits the road with his one and only friend, a bearish Arab-American, but their road trip gets stalled. This may be the only book on the shelves this fall that has Arab dialoge, a boar hunt and several trips to Hardee's. I thought it was great -- I hope the young adults love it.
#18 - The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell. This was OK, and when Vowell is on a roll she's amazing, but a few of the pieces felt perfunctory and others were a little dated -- the tragedy of George Bush stealing the election pales, I fear, when looking at how his administration has waged war in the Middle East and decimated the Constitution since. Truth be told, I wanted Assassination Vacation but the bookstore was sold out. I suspect the theme of Assassination Vacation will help the essays hold together better.
#19 - Becoming Abigail by Chris Abani. Strong, disorienting, disjointed, this book's form and language fit its protagonist. Very well crafted and entirely terrific, although the subject matter is almost unbearably grim. Short and excellent.
#20 - Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. OK, she's got a great grasp of language, can evoke beauty in the simplest of things, and has obviously thought a lot about Christianity and Iowa. But it's all rumination and lecture, with a bit of character thrown in. Plot? As swift as the sun creeping across a field of wheat. To me, one long sermon, and not an overly illuminating one. Eh, other people liked it. Got a Pulitzer. But y'know, it just wasn't what I'd hoped.