Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's all about you

Do you ever catch yourself unintentionally reading books that fit a certain pattern?  I'm not just talking about the same style of writing or the same general authors, but patterns that you aren't consciously seeking out.  I've been through phases where, unintentionally, every book I read for several weeks involved characters who were chefs or bakers.  I've been through phases where every book took place in India.  I've read about a place I've never heard of before, and suddenly it's mentioned in the next four books I read.  And now, I'm in a phase where many of the books I've read recently have titles that really speak to the reader.  I don't mean that metaphorically, I mean that the titles are all addressed to "you."  My library basket is full of books about you.  Check them out at see if any of them are calling to you. 

You Were Wrong Karl Floor is a loser.  Not only is he not the "cool" math teacher, but he's so inept that the book begins with two of his students beating him up.  Life only gets stranger after that, when he comes home to find his house being robbed...and deciding to help.  Karl is detached in a way that reminds me of Camus' The Stranger, but with more bite. 



You Don't Love This Man Paul is having a bad day.  His 25-year-old daughter, Miranda, is scheduled to marry his best friend, but nobody can find her.  In the midst of looking for her, he gets a call informing him that the bank he manages has been robbed.  He soon discovers that the robber is the same man who robbed him 25 years earlier.  He stumbles through the day trying to resolve everything that has gone wrong and reflecting on the events and relationships that have led him to this point.  It wasn't the most satisfying book

If I Loved You I Would Tell You This  This collection of short stories is just about as melancholy as the title suggests.  From the titular story, in which a dying woman has an imaginary title with her litigious next-door neighbor, to Immortalizing John Parker, in which an artist struggling with her own loss  prepares to paint a portrait of a man with Alzheimers to preserve the memory of him, if not his memories, for his wife, it is an introspective collection of love and loss.


Next on deck are This is Just Exactly Like Youapparently a bleakly amusing dysfunctional suburban family saga and When You Were Mine, Elizabeth Noble's new book about a woman unsatisfied with her marriage who confronts old emotions when she begins meeting her former boyfriend. 

Looking over these summaries, I think it's time for a little something light and frothy to celebrate spring.  I was really drawn in by the intrigue of the titles that seemed to call out to me but, good as they were, the other pattern seems to be that they were all somewhat dark.  Have you any recommendations for books that would help me lighten the mood?  See, there's a good "you" title right there: What do you suggest I do?

No comments: