So I’m supposed to be reading Vanity Fair for my bookclub. Trouble is, I really don’t like it. I knew it would be a bit of a challenge to stick with such a long book, but I had no idea that I really would find so much of it difficult to read. There are TONS of time bound cultural, linguistic, and political allusions within the chapters I’m reading and I have to admit it’s quite frustrating. I’m actually quite surprised. I don’t normally shy away from reading stuff like this– I love a good British novel– but not this time. I’d benefit from reading this with a class. I feel like I need a ton more background. Anyone have any suggestions for where to look? I need to see if anyone’s done a book club reading guide for it. Otherwise I’m doomed. I just don’t want to spend the time on it any more and that makes me feel bad. I love the woman who chose this and I want to slog through it if only for her sake. I like to think I’m up for a challenge but…..my reading time is so precious I hate spending it on something I don’t like. 😦
November 12, 2008
November 10, 2008
I finished Jumpha Lahiri’s collection of short stories, Unaccustomed Earth, this past week. I love that woman’s writing. She has a way of communicating the deepest unspoken truths about relationships that moves me. After reading each one of her perfectly crafted short stories I find I have to stop and think about it for a few days. I find myself thinking about them in the shower, or while driving, or talking with friends.
When I first found Lahiri (I’ve read The Namesake and Interpreter of Maladies) I was astounded to see how relevant she was to my life and experiences. I had the misperception that her work would transport me to someone else’s Bengali or Bengali-American life and experiences– instead, on page after page I found myself relating to her characters as if I had written the stories or she was writing about my family. The cultural differences are fascinating, but actually fade away as the truths of the stories reveal themselves.
I can’t say enough about Lahiri’s work nor can I recommend this book of stories any more highly. How privleged I was to read both Strout’s Olive Kittridge and Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth in the same month. Wow!