Sep 7, 2010
A quick report on our Summer Reading assignments, to be followed up by an online/call-in book group. Different ways to read books: fast or slow, all at once or in bits and pieces? In our Two Books We Can't Wait For You to Read segment, Ann tries hard to not cry while discussing To the End of the Land.
Ann and I have finished our Summer Reading assignments; the books you voted for us to read, The Poisonwood Bible and Middlesex, respectively. We both loved the books and we both thank the Books on the Nightstand listeners who voted! We don't say too much about the books on this episode because we're going to have two live call-in book group shows! I'll be discussing Middlesex on Monday, September 27 at 9pm EST and Ann will talk about The Poisonwood Bible on Tuesday, October 5 at 9:30pm EST. More information is at our page on TalkShoe (the site we're using for these calls), but full details will be announced here on the blog, just before the calls. In the meantime, get cracking on these books so you can join the discussion!
While we were wrapped up in our assigned books, a couple of big book releases slipped by us. Sorry we didn't give Mockingjay and Freedom that coverage they deserved! We vow to better keep you informed of all of the big books coming out, even if we don't get a chance to read them all. We'd love your help. Please always let us know what books you're most looking forward to. You can email us, call our voicemail line or leave comments here on the site.
A blog post at Tor.com debates reading books in big gulps or small sips. Jo Walton, the author of the post, says she reads all the time ("...if I’m [at a restaurant] with you, I’ll get my book out for the two minutes while you’re in the bathroom."), and doesn't need to read for long stretches to fully enjoy a book. Ann and I share our opinions on this topic. For us, it matters on what kind of book it is (dense literary fiction vs. a page-turner mystery). Ann also thinks gulping or sipping could mean reading quickly or slowly. It's a rare book that you want to race through to find out what happens and, at the same time, slow down to savor the writing. For Ann, one of those books is The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. The first book that sprang to mind for me was The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. Please share with us your thoughts on gulping vs. sipping, and any books you wanted to read both quickly and slowly.
I haven't read it yet, but I've heard amazing things about Ape House, the new novel by Sara Gruen. I loved Water for Elephants. The new book is in stores now, and follows a family of bonobo apes who are "liberated" from the language researcher who has cared for them for years. Ann has been deeply moved by David Grossman's To the End of the Land. It's the story of Ora, an Israeli mother whose son has returned to the front lines. Rather than wait for what she feels is the inevitable bad news, she sets out on a hike with a former lover, reconnects with him and fills him in on her life and that of her son. To this day, Ann still has trouble even thinking about this book without getting emotional. To hear a wonderful interview with David Grossman, check out this episode of the Guardian Books Podcast.