Progress: Notes From A Reading Life – August 9, 2010

I have read one book since the beginning of August and I am currently in the middle of my second.  I am beyond thrilled by how much I enjoyed my last read, Procession of the Dead.  When I read a really good book it makes me that much more vigilant about the next book that I choose, because I want to make sure that it is something that I absolutely want to read, will match my mood and is going to be really good.

One of the things that I most enjoyed about Procession of the Dead was the stellar  world building, and the detailed, solid characterization in the novel. I was completely ensconced in the world created and I knew that I wanted to have a similar experience with my next read.  I gathered together books from a few different authors whom I thought would be able to re-create that experience, and started reading a few paragraphs from The Sister Wife, The Quickening, and The Exile of Sarah Stevenson, trying to make a decision.  Each one of them would have done the trick, but I had picked out Year of Wonders, and was happily through the first two chapters of Geraldine Brooks’ historical fiction accounting of a town suffering from the plague in 1666, before I remembered that I needed to read Perfect Peace, by Daniel Black for my book club meeting on Tuesday.

It was with great reluctance that I put Year of Wonders aside, and even though I am anxious to get back to it, Perfect Peace is proving to be equally as captivating.  The story line is one that I have seen nothing similar to at all.  A mother is at her wit’s end in 1939 Arkansas when her seventh child is born a boy, like all the others.  So desperately does she want to have a little girl, that she simply decides to raise him as a girl, whom she names Perfect. She decides to tell him that he is really a boy on his eighth birthday, so then of course all hell breaks loose.  This, of course, has been very hard to put down.  It raises all of those fascinating questions of nature vs. nurture and gender identity, and what it means to love. I am eager to finish the second half.

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane

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  1. I know what you mean about having to find just the right book to follow up one that you have enjoyed. Sometimes I have to take a reading break and focus on magazines and newspapers before I can pick something after a great read. Perfect Peace sounds very interesting!

  2. Oh my gosh Nicole, this sounds like it is going to be an amazing read. I’ve never heard of anything remotely close to this. I am tempted to put it on my wishlist now, but I will restrain myself and wait until I’ve read your review.

  3. Well, I guess if you had to put down another book for something, this sounds like it would be worth it. I’m in the middle of reading Middlesex, which has the whole gender confusion thing going on too.

  4. Perfect Peace definitely sounds original and interesting. I’ve read Year of Wonders but it was before I started blogging…I remember enjoying it though so I hope you’ll be able to get back to it soon.

  5. Year of Wonders — Yikes! I own it in three media and I *still* haven’t read it. And I like Brooks. Your book ADD always cracks me up.

  6. Wow — Perfect Peace definitely sounds like a different, seriously compelling story! Can’t say I’ve ever read anything along those lines, especially set in the mid-20th century. Definitely get back to Year Of Wonders, though; as you know, I loved it!