27 December, 2010

The Duchess Reads, and Reads, and Reads . . .

It's been a very busy literary month for the Duchess.  And that is because her reading life has been revolutionized -- by the Kindle.  Now, true to her snobbish, yuppie, The-Duchess-is-too-good-for-that attitude, she would never ever dream of purchasing an e-reader for herself.  But receiving one as a gift is completely guilt-free, no?

In any event, both pre-and post-Kindle, the Duchess has enjoyed a bevy of quality reads within the last few weeks.  Without further ado:

"Great House" by Nicole Krauss. 
Extremely excellent in every way and the Duchess crowns it best novel of the year. 

"Cleopatra:  A Life" by Stacy Schiff. 
Very well-written, impossibly well-researched biography of that famed Queen of Egypt.  Though dense, it's worth the journey to the Nile and back.

"An Object of Beauty" by Steve Martin. 
The Duchess hated Mr. Martin's earlier novella "Shopgirl", simply hated it.  There is much to like about his newest book, and its menacingly cunning heroine, Lacey Yeager.

"Country Moods and Tenses"* by Edith Olivier.  A first printing was a gift from the Duchess's darling J.S.  This was a lovely, lyrical book about the speed of the country plough. 

"My Hollywood" by Mona Simpson.  On a scale of one to ten, the Duchess gives a six (generous).  Though the characters are relatively well-developed, the structure of the book and the chapters narrated by the Filipina nanny can be confusing.  This one probably warrants its own, full-length posting (to follow). 

"A Visit From The Goon Squad" (now in paperback) by Jennifer Egan.  Lauded by the New York Times as one of the best five fiction books published in 2010, "Goon" -- a creatively constructed narrative about a cast of characters interrelated based on their connection to an aging punk rock musician -- was indeed terrific. 

"The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas, pere.  At bat. 

*Other rare and early books available through Nick Harvill Libraries, also through Nick Harvill Libraries for Hollywood at Home

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