Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Nominees for August's Book

The Eyre Affair by Jaspar Fforde

I really love Fforde's books. They are easy reading and literary. We read this book over at RGG recently and I loved seeing others in the book club fall in love/like with a book and author I enjoy so much.

Great Britain circa 1985: time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. Baconians are trying to convince the world that Francis Bacon really wrote Shakespeare, there are riots between the Surrealists and Impressionists, and thousands of men are named John Milton, an homage to the real Milton and a very confusing situation for the police. Amidst all this, Acheron Hades, Third Most Wanted Man In the World, steals the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and kills a minor character, who then disappears from every volume of the novel ever printed! But that's just a prelude.

Hades' real target is the beloved Jane Eyre, and it's not long before he plucks her from the pages of Bronte's novel. Enter Thursday Next. She's the Special Operative's renowned literary detective, and she drives a Porsche. With the help of her uncle Mycroft's Prose Portal, Thursday enters the novel to rescue Jane Eyre from this heinous act of literary homicide. It's tricky business, all these interlopers running about Thornfield, and deceptions run rampant as their paths cross with Jane, Rochester, and Miss Fairfax. Can Thursday save Jane Eyre and Bronte's masterpiece? And what of the Crimean War? Will it ever end? And what about those annoying black holes that pop up now and again, sucking things into time-space voids.

Suspenseful and outlandish, absorbing and fun, The Eyre Affair is a caper unlike any other and an introduction to the imagination of a most distinctive writer and his singular fictional universe.

These next two books are on my TBR list. Both are hardcovers though.

The Film Club by David Gilmour

At the start of this brilliantly unconventional family memoir, David Gilmour is an unemployed movie critic trying to convince his 15-year-old son Jesse to do his homework. When he realizes Jesse is beginning to view learning as a loathsome chore, he offers his son an unconventional deal: Jesse could drop out of school, not work, not pay rent — but he must watch three movies a week of his father's choosing.

Week by week, side by side, father and son watched everything from True Romance to Rosemary's Baby to Showgirls, and films by Akira Kurosawa, Martin Scorsese, Brian DePalma, Billy Wilder, among others. The movies got them talking about Jesse's life and his own romantic dramas, with mercurial girlfriends, heart-wrenching breakups, and the kind of obsessive yearning usually seen only in movies.

Through their film club, father and son discussed girls, music, work, drugs, money, love, and friendship — and their own lives changed in surprising ways.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.

Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny's wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoe, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoe at his side. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human only a dog could tell it.


Marylyn S said...

"The art of racing in the rain” Oh if I can get this I really want to read it. I am a BIG dog lover, I am the pet of 5 canines; Trooper, Babie, Princess, Lil Man and Missy.

Ellen D. said...

Boy, great choices. I think I vote for The Art of Racing in the Rain also, though my mother really loves Suite Francais and plan to read it one of these days.

Neco said...

Marylyn, have you read Marley and Me? I don't have dogs but I read the book a year or so ago and was really touched.

Marylyn S said...

I have Marley and Me but I am scared to read it. my mom has and it upset her. We lost our Yeller lab last year and none of us have gotten over it. Just looking at the cover makes me sad. Not that I would put anyone of my babies (dogs) before the other but Nala (lab) was with me as my only dog at the time through some really tough times and she was there with each one of us separately through some toughs times and she was just the best. Dogs are just very special Sorry to be so mushy.

Neco said...

Aww, Marylyn, I'm so sorry. And you're not too mushy. I love my pets and hate to think about losing them one day.

Marylyn S said...

Neco, Thank you. They do become one (or in my case now 5) of the family. And boy do they know us...Lol

Neco said...

Five dogs, Marylyn!? I don't know how you manage. Or carry so much dog food. Or have any room on your bed for you (and hubbie?).