Sunday, October 2, 2005

Good reads

I wanted to write a post about Jana leaving for Amsterdam for 3 months, but that seems too sad, especially as I missed talking to her this weekend before they left today. Sigh.

Instead of that pity-party:

The Shadow of the Wind
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
This is a wonderful, old-style thriller, set in 1930s and 40s Barcelona and Paris. Though predictable in places, it's a fun, gripping mystery with some romantic elements that transported me to the dark, foggy, cobbley streets of some distinguished old Eurpoean cities. Actually, since we having our own cobbley-streeted experience while I was reading this book, I found myself confused when I was pulled out of the story. Where I am? Milan, 2005 or Barcelona, 1946? I lent this one to Jana for her trip. Sigh.

An Italian in America
by Beppe Severgnini
No vacation with Ray is complete without buying books. By the time we got to Milan, we had a crisis on our hands. Ray had read all but one thing he'd brought with him (I think he was saving it for an emergency situation, i.e. plane ride home). Since we hadn't been in town large enough to have a bookstore with books in our native tongue, we scouted out a bookstore within a few hours after arriving in Milan. While Ray browsed and restocked, I picked this one up, flipped through it, couldn't put it down, so we added it to the stack. It's an easy and funny (though dated) read about the author's year in the US...mostly light-hearted comparisons of Italian and American culture. It was really fun to read while we were in the midst of experiencing these differences: for instance, why don't we get water or soda pop served with ice? I will certainly look for other titles by Severgnini (whose name I am still trying to pronounce without sounding everything out).

The Annotated Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen, David Shapard
Got this for my birthday...good call! It is really fun to reread the story with all these little explanatory tidbits by someone who has researched the period as well as the novel and authoress. The annotater can point out meanings and allusions in the dialogue similar to watching the Yankees with someone who keeps track, obsessed with baseball stats. All of the added notes are making the story last loads longer. Three cheers for P&P in triple overtime with the bases loaded! Now if I can only make it last for 3 months...

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