- Fizzy Thoughts: January 2007

And you thought I was fast before

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

487 pages in 24 hours. There were so many questions in the story I just had to stay up and finish it!

This is a book about a book. It doesn't get any better than that. :-) Young Daniel Sempere discovers the book The Shadow of the Wind in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. As he learns more about the illusive author of the book, Julian Carax, Daniel gets caught up in the mystery surrounding both Carax and his novels. Set in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War and the years after, the book is both a mystery and a love story. Zafon (and his translator) do a great job of drawing you into both Daniel and Julian's stories. This is an unputdownable book.


I'm on a roll

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Four days off + no plans = lots of reading

Love Walked In, by Marisa de los Santos

This was another very quick, but very good, read. The book focuses on two characters, Cornelia and Clare. Cornelia is a grad-school dropout working as the manager of a coffee house. Clare is a bright, beautiful 11 year old whose mother is "sick" and abandons her. Through a mutual acquaintance (okay, more than a mutual acquaintance...Cornelia thinks he's the perfect man, Clare thinks he's a sorry excuse for a parent) the two hook up and change each others' lives. I loved the casual writing style...the book alternates between Cornelia and Clare, and Cornelia likes to talk to the reader. I also liked the upbeat tone, despite what happens in the story, and of course, the happy ending.


Falling Palace

Falling Palace, by Dan Hofstadter
This was a quick read that I very much enjoyed. Like Adam Gopnik in Paris to the Moon, Hofstadter is an American journalist who moves overseas. Unlike Gopnik, he is single and half in love with a Neopolitan. This book focuses more on the place (Naples) and its inhabitants, and it has an interesting side story in Benedetta, Hofstadter's lover.
It still didn't convince me to spend any time in Naples, though.


Another book

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Paris to the Moon, by Adam Gopnik

I've been reading this book for what seems like forever, but I finally finished it this morning. It is a series of essays about living in Paris with his wife and small son. People rave about his book. It was interesting, but after awhile I lost interest, Actually, it would be more accurate to say that some of the essays were more interesting than the others. He gets a little intellectual at times...I just want to read about what it's like living in Paris. I found Sarah Turnbull's Almost French to be much more entertaining and informative.


Book Report

Monday, January 08, 2007

Ciao, America by Beppe Severgnini

I am definitely on a travel memoirs kick. This time, instead of reading about Americans elsewhere, I read about Italians in America. Severgnini is an Italian author who spent a year living in Washington DC in the '90s. The book was milder than I expected. I had read that it was hysterically funny (it was amusing) and that it trashed American culture (pu-leeze...Americans are so self-centered, we need to get over ourselves). It's an entertaining look at American life (good and bad, but I never got the impression he was out to bash Americans). What was really interesting was his postscript...5 years later Severgnini returned to the US and found Americans more jaded and irritated. Kinda sad.


Elmo rocks!


David Pogue

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Hey mackadilly...tell Matt to check out this video. It's almost 10 minutes in length, but it's funny.
David Pogue is a technology columnist...he's singing songs to a Mac users group. One about Steve Jobs, another about iPods, and his suggested anthem for Mac users.


The Incomprehensive List of Books Read in 2007

Monday, January 01, 2007

A not-so-complete list of the books I have read in 2007. Not-so-complete because I have no record of what I read in February and March. Which is why I'm keeping this list...obviously, I can't remember squat.

30th: Persian Girls, by Nahid Rachlin
25th: Any Bitter Thing, by Monica Wood
22nd: North of Ithaka, by Eleni Gage
10th: When Madeline Was Young, by Jane Hamilton
6th: The Center of Everything, by Laura Moriarty
1st: Digging to America, by Anne Tyler

26th: Sixpence House, by Paul Collins
24th: Mexican Days, by Tony Cohan
17th: Rain Village, by Carolyn Turgeon
12th: The Faraday Girls, by Monica McInerney
10th: The Other Side of the Bridge, by Mary Lawson
4th: The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, by Maggie O'Farrell

31st: The Saffron Kitchen, by Yasmin Crowther
29th: The Brothers K, by David James Duncan
15th: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, by Alexandra Fuller
10th: A Year in the World, by Frances Mayes

21st: The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi, by Jacqueline Park

26th: The Blood of Flowers, by Anita Amirrezvani
13th: Season of the Witch, by Natasha Mostert
6th: The Places In Between, by Rory Stewart
5th: When In Rome, by Penelope Green

30th: A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini
30th: All Over Creation, by Ruth Ozeki
16th: Too Much Tuscan Sun, by Dario Castagno
10th: The Archivist, by Martha Cooley
7th: The Lost Continent, by Bill Bryson

28th: Beyond Ararat, by Bettina Selby
3rd: A Year In Provence, by Peter Mayle
3rd: Incidents In The Rue Laugier, by Anita Brookner

29th: Julia's Chocolates, by Cathy Lamb
28th: The Inheritance of Loss, by Kiran Desai

30th: Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen
22nd: The Caliph's House, by Tahir Shah
16th: Dork Whore, by Iris Bahr
16th: The Reluctant Fundamentalist, by Mohsin Hamid
8th: The Bastard of Istanbul, by Elif Shafak
7th: eat pray love, by Elizabeth Gilbert

(the few I remember)
War in Val D'Orcia, by Iris Origo
The Thirteenth Tale, by Diana Setterfield

21st: The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
16th: love walked in, by Marisa de los Santos
16th: Falling Palace, by Dan Hofstadter
14th: Paris to the Moon, by Adam Gopnik
8th: Ciao, America, by Beppe Severgnini


Happy 2007!

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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