Sunday, September 07, 2008
This summer, my reading was all over the map. I had a brief detour into the world of chick lit with Penny Vincenzi and Anne Rivers Siddons. I won't go back there for a good while. I read the psychological study, Obedience by Will Lavender, and a bit of tartan noir in The Cutting Room by Louise Welch, There were a couple memoirs in the bunch--Service Included by Phoebe Damrosch, and Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs, which was a pretty horrific story but a delight nonetheless.
I went on a bit of a Shakespeare kick with The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber which was fun and Interred with Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell, which I didn't finish. Both books revolve around Da Vinci Code-like searches for lost Shakespearean plays, one book being much better done than the other.
But the best book I read this summer, and for a long time before that, was Birds Without Wings by Louis De Bernieres. The story is set in Turkey in the last days of the Ottoman Empire, when nationalism is rising in the Near East, and will soon upset a centuries-old balance of multicultural cooperation. This book is a profound antiwar statement and puts a sad and personal face on the oh-so antiseptic term "ethnic cleansing". It's a book well worth spending some time with.