Sunday, May 29, 2011

One of a Winter's Thursdays is Missing Love

Say what?!?

That's the book I read, One of a Winter's Thursdays is Missing Love. Oh I'm sorry. That's two books I just finished A Winter's Love and One of Our Thursdays is Missing. Two of my favorite authors who couldn't be more different from each other. Shall we start?

One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde
More than Maureen Johnson or John Greene or maybe even JK Rowling, Jasper Fforde may be my favorite living author. His Thursday Next series is the reason I thought I could read serious, classic fiction and like it. Not that HIS work is serious, classic fiction--but he plays with the English classics so well that they become one again the living, breathing works that they are remembered for. The more I dive into Bookworld the more seriously I take my job as a reader--to pay attention to each word the author has painstakingly agonized over and to appreciate and participate in this creative work. That all sounds stodgy, like a literary criticism textbook, but acted out in this speculative fiction where the written Thursday Next might be the real Thursday Next and even she isn't sure who is who, it's the joyride reading should be. Fforde is disorienting, but don't put down the book because of that--the characters are counting on you to keep up their read counts! (Seriously, start with The Eyre Affair continue through six books until you finished One of Our Thursdays is Missing you won't be disappointed. Then go read all the works he references and read the novels again, you'll feel so smart!)

A Winter's Love by Madeleine L'Engle
I nearly put down this book. Despite having just read Fforde and knowing the importance of readers, I nearly put down this book. I love Madeleine L'Engle, but her adult fiction is just so gloomy. I wasn't sure I could handle another book set in Winter in the Swiss (or maybe French?) alps, with affairs, broken marriages, and semi-alcoholic rages. But I'm glad I did stick with it. A Winter's Love occupies this fringe territory of the L'Engle corpus where yes, it does pull a lot of set pieces from other works, but it does something totally different. I haven't paid too much attention to perspective in my previous readings, but in this one, as I was getting sick of Emily's "Am I evil enough to have an affair?" whining, she switches to her husband Courtney's introspection about his withdrawal from Emily and their marriage. And when you start to wonder how anyone could hang out with Gertrude when she's drinking, you get a bombshell from her past (and this could be literally since it's just after WWII). It is gloomy and it is NOT A Wrinkle in Time (that's two more L'Engle books away), but it is worth it. You see L'Engle's range as a writer along with her on-going use of conventions.

Next up, I'm taking on one of my Liminality/Pilgrimage books, The Art of Pilgrimage. Hopefully, that will be finished by June 1st when the Summer Reading Program starts!!!!

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