Friday, December 31, 2010

Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon

Luckily, a Christmas break lunch visit with Salvatore Scibona reminded me that I had purchased Lord of Misrule the day after it won the National Book Award. On a strong recommendation from Salvatore, I started the book on December 27 and read it as much as I could over the remainder of the Christmas break week - stealing time from family visits and getting out of bed to read after everyone else was asleep. Although I didn't think that a book about horse racing would appeal to me at all, the beauty of Jaimy Gordon's prose made the subject matter secondary. Her vernacular was a quirky as the names of her minor characters - Deucey Gifford, Medicine Ed, Kiddstuff, Suitcase Smithers, Two-Tie, and Joe Dale Bigge. I had to read slowly to isolate plot details from West Virginia dialect of stall conversations and metaphoric descriptions. I would describe it as something like the Cannery Row of horse racing. A lovely Christmas present to myself was carving out the time to read this beautiful book.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall

My second ibook was a Christmas break comic treat that allowed me to read early in the a.m. by the light of the Christmas tree with my backlit iPad screen. Quite a luxury. I loved the crazy complications that 4 wives and 28 children brought to Golden Richard's life. This book reminds me a bit of a John Irving novel, with plot details that evoke wry laughter.