Springtime WHIRL with the Stars!

For those of you who are new to this site, welcome!  WHIRL stand for “What Have I Read Lately,” and it’s just a quick round-up of my reading that I don’t have time to make longer posts for. (If you’d like “Points to Ponder–in-depth, thought-provoking questions for your book club–for any of these books, please let me know.)  So…here goes:

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides.  If I gave stars like other sites do, I would give Middlesex by this author five stars, but I would only give The Marriage Plot three stars.  It was extremely disjointed, and although the section on one of the character’s descent into depression was so well-written that I felt like I was descending into madness myself, I still think the book as a whole was just not…stellar.

The Road Home by Rose Tremain.  Again, I’d have to give this novel three stars.  That is, if I gave stars.  Hmm, perhaps I’ll start.  Anyway, this novel is from another author whom I look forward to reading, but–and this speaks to my philosophy of “low expectations are a good thing”–I was disappointed in this book. Immigrant from Eastern Europe tries to make a success of his life in England.  It went on a bit too long, and I was just glad to be done with it.  Actually, that’s too harsh.  I did enjoy the book until the very end, which dragged.  Maybe three and a half or four stars.  Tremain’s writing is always good, and her character development is great. 

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates.  Brutal.  Brilliant but brutal.  Five stars.  Read it.  And see the movie.  I may choose this book for my Literary Masters book groups next season.  I’m not sure, though, because it really is emotionally wrenching.  The portrait of a marriage, and the individuals within it.  A period piece that resonates for anyone in any era who strives to be special, amazing, the best he/she can be…

Coral Glynn by Peter Cameron.  Another period piece that resonates with anyone who has ever felt trapped–within a relationship, within a job, within one’s own expectations.  Four and a half stars.  At first I thought this novel was rather simplistic, but it stayed with me a long time after I finished it.  If you liked Brooklyn and The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, I think you will like this book.

So, what about you?  What have YOU read lately?

3 thoughts on “Springtime WHIRL with the Stars!

  1. Hello. I really like your blog here, and based on your comments, I added a couple of books to my “to-read” list (Coral Glynn, and The White Tiger).

    I discovered you from Mookes and Gripes, wanting to see what other people thought about the no-fiction Pulitzer this year.

    Here are four of my favorite books to recommend to you. You may have already read The Known World, by Edward Jones, about an African American who owned slaves, and so much more. Last year, one of my favorite reads was The Last Brother, by Nathacha Appanah, which has won awards. About a little known incident involving Jewish refugees during WWII on the island of Mauritius, and two little boys.

    This year, two of my favorite reads are: The Buddha in the Attic, by Julie Otsuka, about Japanese picture brides in the early 1900's, and their lives until WWII; and The Quality of Mercy, by Barry Unsworth, about the slave trade, landed gentry, and coal mining in England during the 1760's (be warned: it may take you until past the first half of the book to truly get into it, but from my point of view, definitely well worth it).

    My next book to read will be the Island of Wings, which was longlisted for the Orange.

    Thanks for you terrific blog here. I will be checking your comments for more recommendations!

  2. Hello. Just left a comment as Anonymous, even though I believe I have used Word Press before, but it wanted me to sign in, and I did not know how to do that. (am a relative ignoramus when it comes to the internet)

    My name is Mij Woodward, I live on Bainbridge Island in the state of Washington in the US. There. No longer Anonymous.

  3. Hi Mij! I am so pleased to hear from you and thanks so much for your kind words, and for your reading recommendations! I have The Quality of Mercy on my shelf, so your favorable review has given me renewed impetus to start it, and I have just requested The Last Brother from the library. Lots of reading to do! Please check in again and let me know what you're reading–so great to hear from you!

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