I don’t know if it’s the crispness of the fall air, or the sudden appearance of pumpkins as home decor, but I feel the pull of the fall season, specifically the creepiness of a rapidly cooling climate and nature winding down with dead leaves and bare branches. It calls for a book that’s just a bit creepy itself–and what’s more appropriately creepy than Frankenstein’s monster? So I’ve checked out The Lady and Her Monsters:a tale of dissections, real-life Dr. Frankensteins, and the creation of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece. I’ve long been fascinated by the soap-opera like tale of Mary Shelley’s torrid affair with the poet Percy, and their interactions with Lord Byron and Clair Clairmont. This book combines the drama of Mary’s personal relationships with the intersection of the Romantic Age and the Industrial Revolution. To Mary’s biography the author adds tales of grave-robbing, dissection, and gruesome experiments that informed the famous novel. I just started it, and so far, so good.
The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje: Ondaatje’s fluid prose never ceases to captivate. I’ve loved many of his other books for their lyrical qualities, and The Cat’s Table is no exception. This is the story of a young boy’s journey by steamer from his home in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), to England where his mother and school await. The Cat’s Table details the many adventures and troubles that a young, unsupervised boy experiences on the three week voyage, as well as the brief relationships that color the rest of his life.
by Diana Gabaldon: I got wind of this book through the new television series coming out by Starz and was intrigued enough to place it on hold and wait only about three months or so before finally getting a copy. So far I find it rather addicting and enjoyable, if perhaps a little meandering and unnecessarily detailed in places. I am not a great reader of romance novels, but have enjoyed historical novels with romance in them before, particularly ones set in a very screwed up time, historically speaking (for example, The Autobiography of Henry VIII
by Margaret George, which I read remarkably quickly for all its 960 pages). And I’m a sucker for feisty World War II English feminists and hunky Scottish men who love horses and go about punching lecherous louts – who isn’t, honestly?
The Impossible Knife of Memory
by Laurie Halse Anderson: I confess to being a little tired of the books about the lone wolf teenage girl who is smarter than everyone else and dealing with super difficult adult problems plus her oh-so-hard relationship issues (that funny, quirky, weird yet cute guy who really likes her is such a drag, man) but just wants to be left alone because she has like so many problems, you know. However, all that being said, this is a pretty good version of that story. The writing draws you into not just the life but the thoughts and emotions of the heroine, and it reminded me of many of the fears, insecurities, and worries that I have had to deal with before as a teenager and a girl.
by Shannon Hale: I just barely finished reading this, so I’m still counting it on my tally. I really enjoy Shannon Hale’s writing style – her characters feel realistic, fun, and relatable. The plot was always engaging and exciting, but didn’t always make perfect sense or feel cohesive. At times I felt like one plot simply ran out of steam and then the book had to switch to a different plot or create a new problem. Still, it was worth reading and it was fun to read something from her that was different, plot and genre-wise, from anything else I’d ever seen her write.