Book Bulletin ~ Matrimony, Joshua Henkin

I am about eighty pages into Matrimony by Joshua Henkin and I’m not yet sure how I feel about it.  Right now it’s a little loose and it’s just going along; from what I know so far I don’t have a a clue as to what will happen next or how these characters will end up.  I figure at some point someone will get married, since this is Matrimony after all.

Two guys, Julian and Carter, come from different worlds but reluctantly become friends in college at the prompting of their curmudgeonly Creative Writing professor.  They start dating Mia and Pilar, respectively, during their freshman year and manage to maintain their relationships throughout their senior year in college, where they are all trying to figure out their next steps; and that’s about where I’m at right now.  I’m interested enough in the story , and I don’t know if that’s because I have heard such good things about it, that I want  to keep reading, but I am a little disturbed at how insular the characters are.  They move into  a commune, where the couples live next door to each other, and so far not a single person who lives there, outside of the foursome, have been mentioned; and none of them seem to have any other friends beside each other. It’s a little weird.  The only place where other students are present is in the writing class the boys took together freshman year. 

So far I don’t feel I’ve gotten to know either of the boys that well.  I feel like I know their types, but don’t really know them.  But there are some places where there is a nice characterization of Julian , like with the dogs that he walks and the Korean couple that he gets to know at the vegetable market he frequents.  I am starting to get to know Mia a little as her world gets turned upside down.  So far, she seems to be the most fully developed character.  So we’ll see.

I’ll end with a sentence I enjoyed.

The babies lay like take-out orders beneath the warm lights, the boys with blue hats, the girls with pink ones, everything determined already; Mia, hating this, swore that if she ever had a baby she’d have the pinkest boy in the world, she’d have the bluest girl.

I like the image of babies as take out, and the use of the semi-colon (j/k).

Booking Through Thursday

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If you’re anything like me, one of your favorite reasons
to read is for the story. Not for the character development and
interaction. Not because of the descriptive, emotive powers of the
writer. Not because of deep, literary meaning hidden beneath layers of
metaphor. (Even though those are all good things.) No … it’s because
you
want to know what happens next?

Or, um, is it just me?

I think the story is what compels me to pick up the book in the first place, but if the other elements aren’t there I question the worth of the story, and whther I will finish reading it. If the other stuff isn’t there it’s like having a delicious pie shell or pastry crust and the filling sucks.  Not very good, is it? 

Characters and their development usually go hand in hand with whether I can actually finish a book, and will have a major influence on my final thoughts on a book.  The only two books that I have failed to finish this year had characters that I didn’t feel anything for one way or the other, so much so that I couldn’t even finish for the story to see what happened to them; and I started reading them thinking that the concepts were interesting.  I just finished reading  The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante . The story was not the most compelling story in the world (a woman goes to the beach for three weeks on vacation), but I finished reading it because the character was interesting, constantly surprising, and even though I didn’t like her, she was fascinating.

Teaser Tuesday ~ August 26

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Teaser Tuesdays asks you to:

Please avoid spoilers!

Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.

Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

I wonder what my life would have been  like with another woman- a life away from men and their caterwauling  and continual need for affirmation, for stroking , as though within their  minds they were alway s deep  in the  Den of Iniquity, always waiting with the  robe belt  loosely tied, wanting a woman to pull it open and make them happy.  Men and women drifted through the room ;  distantly through the smoke I could smell  a malodorous breathe of anxiety, behind which  someone wondered if they would find pleasure tonight, if their robe would opened by warm, new hands.

The Wife,  Meg  Wolitzer

Sunday Salon ~ ARC Giveaway

I read and enjoyed Michael Greenberg’s Hurry Down Sunshine, due out September 9, 2008,and now I am giving away my ARC copy so that you can enjoy it too!

From the Back Cover

HURRY DOWN SUNSHINE TELLS THE STORY OF THE extraordinary summer when, at the age of fifteen, Michael Greenberg’s daughter was struck mad. It begins with Sally’s visionary crack-up on the streets of Greenwich Village, and continues, among other places, in the out-of-time world of a Manhattan psychiatric ward during the city’s most sweltering months. “I feel like I’m traveling and traveling with nowhere to go back to,” Sally says in a burst of lucidity while hurtling away toward some place her father could not dream of or imagine. Hurry Down Sunshine is the chronicle of that journey, and its effect on Sally and those closest to her–her brother and grandmother, her mother and stepmother, and, not least of all, the author himself. Among Greenberg’s unforgettable gallery of characters are an unconventional psychiatrist, an Orthodox Jewish patient, a manic Classics professor, a movie producer, and a landlord with literary dreams. Unsentimental, nuanced, and deeply humane, Hurry Down Sunshine holds the reader in a mesmerizing state of suspension between the mundane and the transcendent.

Here’s how to enter:
For one entry ~ Simply leave a comment below.

For an additional two entries ~ Tell me what’s the favorite book you’ve reviewed between August 1st and now. Leave a link to the review on your site.

For an additional three entries ~ Tell me which book I’ve written about that you would be most likely to read.

So there’s a total of 6 entries available if you do all three. Deadline to enter is Monday, September 1st 2008. I will draw a winner on Tuesday, September 2nd.

Happy reading!