Friday, June 22, 2012
The Art of Fielding / Chad Harbach - My dad nailed it with his recommendation on this one. I realize I'm hardly the first person to like this book, but I like to think twelve years of softball added to my enjoyment. The characters were so carefully rendered they felt like live people I'd spent real time with - I was heartbroken when I hit the end, just because I wanted to continue with Henry and Schwartz and their tragic everyman lives. TAoF is a novel about baseball in the same way Friday Night Lights was a television show about football.
The Fates Will Find Their Way / Hannah Pittard - Inevitably, everything you hear about this book will reference The Virgin Suicides, which kind of sucks, considering Eugenides isn't exactly an easy act to follow. But I suppose that's what you get when you write a novel in first person plural about a young girl's disappearance. Regardless, TFWFTW is a great book - engaging and windy and roundabout and dreamlike, like listening to a great storyteller relate his version to you over too many beers.
The Leftovers / Tom Perrotta - I just really love Tom Perrotta. At this point, I've read all of his books save Election, and the man just knows how to write a good story about screwed up normal folks. The Leftovers has a bit of a gimmicky premise - it's set three years after a rapture-like "great disappearance" has occurred - but it's really about loss, and confusion, and how people continue to live after a catastrophe. The interview Perrotta did with Fresh Air the other day is fantastic and interesting as well. I'm interested to see the HBO series - clearly Hollywood loves Perrotta as much as I do.
Prospect Park West / Amy Sohn - Smutty fluff, but the good kind. PPW tells the somewhat-intertwined tales of four different women/mothers in Park Slope. The four of them are sort of distinctly unlikeable, and the focus on race (in pre-Obama upper class Brooklyn) and celebrity status is a bit heavy handed at times, but the whole book read like a snappy Sex and the City episode. I picked this up after hearing a beach-read recommendation for Sohn's new book, Motherland, and got exactly what I was looking for (that is, froth that lasts longer than a trashy magazine).