Last week, I finished up a print and an audiobook.
Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout. At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town and in the world at large, but she doesn't always recognize the changes in those around her, including Olive's own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.
This is one seriously depressing book of short stories, as many people have said, but I thoroughly appreciated it. The stories all involve people in the same Maine small town as Olive. She herself is the focus of a few stories, which show her as abrasive & bitter. Her husband, who is the total opposite of her, as well as her only son, are also featured. The writing is seriously brilliant and brought out the nuances of each and every character. Usually, I can point to 1 or 2 stories that I didn't like in a collection - but here, I cannot. I'm glad I read this for my book club, as I probably wouldn't have picked this up on my own.
Legend, Marie Lu. What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
The audiobook narrators, Mariel Stern (as June) and Steven Kaplan (as ), did a wonderful job with the voices of their characters. The book itself was really good - it's fast paced, action packed and the characters are very well developed! They took me for a ride and I went along happily - eager and anxiously awaiting every plot twist. Whether they were predictable or not didn't matter to me because I enjoyed the story immensely. BUT the ending left too many loose ends for my tastes. I get that there will be other books in the series - but the ending of this just felt so incomplete. I HATE when authors leave cliff-hangers ... but in this case, I forgive you Marie Lu. I'll read book 2 - but no more if things aren't explained fully.
Currently Reading and Next
After the Apocalypse: Stories,Maureen F. McHugh. Still reading this from last week.
McHugh delves into the dark heart of contemporary life and life five minutes from now and how easy it is to mix up one with the other. Her stories are post-bird flu, in the middle of medical trials, wondering if our computers are smarter than us, wondering when our jobs are going to be outsourced overseas, wondering if we are who we say we are, and not sure what we'd do to survive the coming zombie plague.
Radiant Days, Michael A. FitzGerald. During the last days of the Balkan War in the summer of 1995, Anthony, a hapless American uncomfortable with the dot-com mania that allows him to live a pampered existence in San Francisco, agrees to join Gisela, a beauty he barely knows, in a search for her son lost in a Hungarian orphanage. In Budapest they meet Marsh, a brilliant but frustrated British war correspondent. Anthony thinks he has found in Eastern Europe what his former life was missing, but when an odd and edgy love triangle emerges, and he discovers his mission with Gisela is much darker than he imagined.
What are you looking forward to reading this week? I haven't been getting much reading done at all, just catching a few minutes here or there.