Various things I have read lately, and whether they were any good or not.

  • Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (Anne Tyler): OK. I think Tyler's books are most relevant to 40ish women, and it doesn't hurt to be bitter and/or disappointed. I'm not either, yet, so this isn't my fave. She is good at characterization, though.
  • Atonement (Ian McEwan): Very good. Wow. This is the first of McEwan's I've read. Are they all this good? Intricate story line, beautiful writing, compelling story.
  • Pope Joan (Donna Woolfolk Cross): OK. But I feel cheated, in a way. Are all historical novels nothing more than romances gussied up in tunics and jerkins?
  • Out (Natsuo Kirino): OK. But I'll tell you, the Japanese are NOT a cheery. Think of a happy Japanese novel... Nothing? That's what I thought. Anyway, this one's a mystery, supposed to've been a big big deal in Japan. The story is bleaker than pitch black, and better than mysteries usually are.
  • Vernon God Little (DBC Pierre): Really good. I was surprised, but I really liked this book, even including its foul-mouthed, misunderstood anti-hero, who ends up seeming pretty heroic indeed at the end.
  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (Dai Sijie): Not good. This book is lame. Someone explain to me why masses of people thought it was so great?
  • Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold): Not good. This book starts off really interestingly, but then falls further and further apart the further you get into it. Again, lame. Why do so many people think it's so great? (But PS her other book, Lucky, is really good.)
  • 2001 (Arthur Clarke): Good. I'm no scifi expert, but I liked this one. All except the very end.
  • What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal (Zoe Heller): Good. Better than I htought it was going to be, especially the characterization of the older teacher. And at the end, surprise, surprise.