31 March 2010
17 March 2010
Title: Her Fearful Symmetry
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Genre: Literary fiction
Length: 401 pages
Where Word Nerd’s Copy Came From: Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library
Plot Basics: When Elspeth dies, she leaves her London flat to her twin nieces, Valentina and Julia with strict instructions that their parents – including their mother, her twin, Edie – are not allowed to visit them there. She also leaves behind a cast of crazy neighbors, including her lover, Robert Fanshaw and Martin, a crossword puzzle genius who suffers from terrible OCD. Valentina and Julia come to London to fulfill the terms of their aunt’s will and discover she has left behind more than just a flat – Elspeth seems to be haunting the place, working her ways to still bring about what she wants. As the two girls struggle to understand London and their family and become adults in their own right, Elspeth’s plans unfold long after her death.
Banter Points: Her Fearful Symmetry isn’t The Time Traveler’s Wife. That said, it’s a book that stands well on its own merit, but will forever be in the shadow of Niffenegger’s tremendous debut novel. Like Time Traveler’s Wife, Symmetry is infused with just a touch of the paranormal or science fiction (it really is a ghost story at its heart). Like other great literary novels, its sense of place is also so tremendous that Highgate Cemetery nearly becomes its own character. And with Elspeth’s haunting, her flat takes on a persona as well.
Bummer Points: Symmetry suffers from a bit of character overload. Word Nerd was most interested Robert Fanshaw, the bereaved lover, but his world of academic associates got cluttered. Likewise with the side story of OCD Martin. He’s a great character, but while he plays one crucial piece, much of his story feels like it was written to justify him being in the novel for that one scene.
Word Nerd Recommendation: If you enjoyed Time Traveler’s Wife, you’ll likely enjoy this one, though for different reasons. This is actually a great introductory book for a reader wanting to get more into paranormals but not knowing if they like the genre. The paranormal is woven in so closely with the plot, at times, you forget it’s there.
12 March 2010
WGN in Chicago banned this list of overused media phrases. Word Nerd doesn't watch much TV news for these very phrases.
If the list is too much for you to get through in one sitting, try the Wait Wait Don't Tell Me! version which uses them all in one sentence.
11 March 2010
10 March 2010
Today, her review of Michael J. White's Weeping Underwater Looks a lot like Laughter. This book will definitely be in her top 10 for the year.
08 March 2010
Because Word Nerd can't read things out of order very often, she went to the library to find herself the first book in the series, Into the Wilderness. Standing there in the Ds in the fiction section, Word Nerd gulped a little bit because the whole series is LONG. Like 800-pages-per-book kind of long. And there are 6 books.
But, Word Nerd plunged ahead and checked the first one out and started reading it yesterday.
At this point in time, she's 159 pages. She'd be farther save for the fact that she started reading the day after a big work event and was just too tired to stay up any later and that she had to go to work today.
Word Nerd isn't a huge reader of historicals, but early American history is a particular soft spot and this book delivers. Also, it's more than possible that after 159 pages, Word Nerd is nursing a bit of a crush on Nathaniel Bonner, one of the main characters. (Yes, she knows he's fictional. That's the whole point, right?) What's really got her swept up though is how full and vivid Donati's world is, from the layout of the village to the language to the details and the fact that there's a plot that keeps the book moving.
Sigh. Word Nerd's got to get back to work. So she can go home eventually and read more.
03 March 2010
89 pages/day average
4,455 total pages
Word Nerd did the math that if she's ever going to crack 100 books in a year, she's got to read 8.3 of them every month. So far for 2010, that means she's 2.6 books behind. 2008 was the closest year she came to 100 (with 98 total read). To get to 100, Word Nerd feels like she'd have to cheat and read lots of shorter YA or graphic novels or something that reads faster than a 350-page novel.
Sigh. She's got Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell waiting to be read. Surely, that's long enough to count as two, right?