I really expected to read a book a week this summer — at least. Most summers, I work and then maybe take a week or two off for a vacation with my family. But, as you might know, this summer was 6 weeks of no work. Almost 7 weeks actually. With a lot of wait time in airports and sit time on planes. So, I figured I’d be packing in one or two books a week with all that time.
But, no. Three books. Three measly books. Okay, perhaps there might have been one or two extras, but they were so bad that I can’t even recall their titles. So, yeah, three books.
Book #1: The Painted Girls, by Cathy Marie Buchanan
My girlfriend Marriam lent me this book at the beginning of the summer before we left on our trip to Australia. I was immediately taken in with the two sisters and their life as extras in the ballet. I didn’t manage to finish it before we left Ottawa, but picked it right back up when we returned. It’s a goodie. Buchanan’s skill brought me right into the streets and gutters of France in the 1800s, as well as the darkness and adrenaline of the backstage. But I don’t like the painter Degas as much as I used to. (Read the book to find out why ….)
Book #2: Summer House with Swimming Pool, by Herman Koch
I picked this one up as a little bit of brain candy for airplane rides and whatnot. If you’ve read The Dinner, also by this author, then you’ll know what to expect: a little bit of a mystery to unravel and characters who you really grow to dislike. In fact, it’s pretty amazing that an author can get a reader all the way through a book without at least one likable character. At one point, I almost felt sick to my stomach with the main character, a medical doctor, and his dismissive and cruel thoughts directly at his patients. I can’t say I’d necessarily recommend this book, but I also can’t say that I didn’t enjoy it.
Book #3: Eyrie, by Tim Winton
Winton is one of my absolute favourite authors. And certainly my most favourite Australian author. When I walked into a book store in Melbourne and saw that he had a new release, I snapped it up immediately. However, I would not say that Eyrie was my favourite of Winton’s books. I do think it’s a mighty good read though. I’d hesitate to recommend it to anyone not familiar with Australian culture and turns of language because I think it might prove confusing or just simply frustrating. (Instead, perhaps try Breath or Cloudstreet — both amazing.) If you’re a fellow Winton fan, it’s worth the read alone to experience the unexpected page-turning nature of this Eyrie.
So, that’s my summer reading for you. How did you fare?