Since my last bookish post, I’ve read:
■ The Invaders (Karolina Waclawiak; 2015. Fiction.)
■ A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy (Sue Klebold; 2016. Non-fiction.)
■ In a Dark, Dark Wood (Ruth Ware; 2015. Fiction.)
■ What She Left Behind (Ellen Marie Wiseman; 2013. Fiction.)
■ Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town (Jon Krakauer; 2015. Non-fiction.)
■ Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (Robin Sloan; 2013. Fiction.)
■ Othello (William Shakespeare; 1603. Drama.)
■ The Cold Song (Linn Ullmann; 2014. Fiction.)
Notes: I recently concluded a MOOC centered on Othello, which, in addition to supplementary articles and lectures, provided ample motivation to closely reread the play. Although I look forward to seeing the current Chicago Shakespeare Theater production over spring break, my recent encounter with the text reminded me that the play, while meant to be seen and heard, is remarkable reading. The questions on which I reflected included: Is the conclusion inevitable? Is this really a play about race? What are we to make of the women in this play? Are we the audience complicit in Iago’s machinations?
Othello aside, I think I may (finally) be growing too old for unrelentingly sad and/or disturbing novels about dysfunctional families and their communities (e.g., Waclawiak’s tautly written The Destroyers), but Norwegian author Linn Ullmann pulled off something special with The Cold Song, a family drama masquerading as murder mystery. On page 163:
It wasn’t true what they said, that it would gradually become easier to cope with the loss, that time would work in her favor. It had become something of a sport to tell her this and every time they said it she had wanted to lash out, she had wanted to scream, what the hell did they know about time, they hadn’t lost a child, but she couldn’t end it all, she had one more, she couldn’t….
Speaking of murder, In a Dark, Dark Wood was a pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon and a pot of coffee. There was nothing pleasant about Krakauer’s Missoula or Klebold’s A Mother’s Reckoning, however. Difficult and heartbreaking, both. On a happier note, I seek admission to the club for readers who loved Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. What a charming book.