Man, I didn’t realize it’s been so long since I posted here. I guess the 100 Years. 100 Books project kind of did me in! But, never fear, it didn’t make me stop reading. As if!
The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert Edsel – The stories of men and women who risked their lives to track down and recover some of the world’s most precious treasures which were stolen by the Nazis during World War II. One of these guys was even from my hometown! The writing is rather dry, but the story is amazing, and I hear that there is a movie version in the making. This is a must for any history lover.
Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes – I heard about this via a tweet from John Woods on a Friday, downloaded it, and spent the next several hours reading. Not a word is wasted in this novella that tells the story of Tony Webster, a middle-aged man suddenly transported back to his school days and his first love by an unexpected bequest. We relive Tony’s painful adolescence, the thrill of his first kiss, the disappointment of sex and breaking up, all colored by the arrogance of youth and the fragility of friendship. Tony’s bequest, a diary that belonged to a long-dead friend, opens up old wounds in a man who has lived a pleasant but unremarkable life, and in a woman whose life has been anything but pleasant and unremarkable. Barnes skillfully conveys Tony’s awkwardness and obtuseness as he attempts to acquire the diary from Veronica, his former girlfriend who left him for his dead friend. Veronica’s character is stretched taut, and Barnes conveys her anger and tightly wound nervousness in beautiful, spare prose. This is a lovely, haunting slice-of-life story that will stay with you long after you put the book away.
The Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst – lovely period piece about secrets, desires, and alliances.
I’ve also been reading a lot of books on marketing for a class I’m teaching, so the leisure reading has been pushed aside for a brief period of time. Lots of good stuff coming out this spring though!