Books are my crack, and I can't have just one. I'm often reading two or three books at a time, which annoys the good friends that lend me books to no end...but I just can't help myself. I get excited and think, I'll just glance page one of this book I'm supposed to be starting once I finish my current read... then I end up reading both, switching at intervals depending on mood. Sometimes I need a YA literary or romantic story because I love to be inspired by the genre I want to write. Other times, I need to visit the land of grown-ups, because being that I am getting so much older and wiser, I can relate more to the stories where the characters are closer to my age.
One story I highly recommend is actually about a group of characters quite a bit older than me. The Last Time I Saw You, by Elizabeth Berg , is a high school reunion story. This might sound cheesy or unoriginal at first glance, but the author uses characters and dialogue that are anything but. The story is told from 5 different points-of-view, each one hooking you more than the last. Each very funny and sometimes sad, always beautifully written. It's their 40th year reunion, so these characters are verging on sixty, each looking to reconnect at the final reunion, establishing new (romantic!) connections or trying to reconcile old ones. It was a lovely read, and I enjoyed every second of it.
Another read...I just can't contain how excited I am for this one...it's something I've been wanting to read for a long time, something I'm just now getting around to. This is for the satire lovers, lovers of the darkest wit, and for those who aren't easily put off by the immensely disturbing:
American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis, is a running commentary (and a sarcastic one, at that) of the crazy culture of this particular class and time period. One reviewer on the back of the novel noted the book as "The first novel to come along in years that takes on deep and Dostoyevskian themes..." Now I've read some (not a lot) of Dostoyevsky. And I've liked it (at least, I think I did)...it will be interesting to try and make the connection. But that really feels like something I'll need Sparknotes for. Sigh.
Now I've seen the movie American Psycho over a dozen times. I will always be a huge fan of Christian Bale in this role, but it's the poetry of the voice-overs, the writing, that most strongly drew me to the film. Normally I'm a fan of reading the book first, watching the movie after. I don't want the book spoiled, and I love comparing the film that comes after the fact of the novelist's artistic vision. This time I'll have to do it backwards. I'm excited to get into the head of this character even more, and see what else Ellis meant to offer. I plan on reading more of his stuff in the future.
Last, and not in the least, least, is a novel that really surprised me. I had no idea Steve Martin had a novel out, but, yup, turns out he does. Turns out, you should read it, too.
An Object of Beauty is told from the point of view of a man recounting in his memory the story of a girl that influenced him greatly. An incredible girl who uses every charm and dirty trick at her disposal to climb the ladder of her career in the New York City art world. Martin knows how to create fascinating characters, and how to write passionately and accurately about art. I'm learning a lot about real, amazing paintings, and getting to SEE them, too! There are printed images right there in the middle of a paragraph every so often throughout the novel.
At the same time, I'm completely entertained and captivated by these two characters and how their worlds intersect. Sex, drugs, and rockin' art. Read this, read it! I have an even bigger crush on Steve Martin, now. Does this man's genius and wild range of talent know no bounds? Check out this clip I'd love to share from one of my favorite musicals, ever. You'll see what I'm talking about: