Book Twentyseven: Tepper Isn't Going Out

Tepper Isn't Going Out, Calvin Trillin

Calvin Trillin is one of my heroes. I love his food writing, and I love this little novel. It's funny and sweet and the picture it paints of New York is exactly the kind I want to see. Tepper is a man who simply wants to park his car ("I was in a legal spot... I was always in a legal spot.") and sit in it while reading his paper while he has time on the meter. The story is about the controversy that stirs up around his parking and the people who think he's some kind of prophet or messiah. I especially love the character of the power-mad mayor (Ducavelli, née Giuliani), who passes ordinances of the kind that prohibit New Yorkers from stepping off the curb to hail a cab or require a certain decency of dress in Central Park, and who, for obvious reasons, can't stand Tepper and his parking. Very funny, very much recommended.

Book Twentysix: Exit Wounds

Exit Wounds, Rutu Modan

I feel a little guilty counting a graphic novel as a book, but given that I'm about nine weeks behind on this project I'm not going to lose too much sleep over it. Also, this book was really wonderful, so I feel that content counts for something in this case. This is the story of a young Israeli man living in Tel-Aviv, working as a cab driver and living with his aunt and uncle. A young woman tracks him down to tell him that she thinks his estranged father may have died in a suicide bombing and they link up, in a fashion, to figure out what happened. The drawing is just right--spare and beautiful--and the story is lovely.

Book Twentyfive: Lolita

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

Ah, Lolita. I can't say whether I think this is more about love or sex or just nasty unquenchable pedophilia, but it's pretty freaking good. Any writer who can have you almost sympathizing with a bad, bad man is doing a great, great job. And to think, English isn't even his first language. It's mine, and I frequently can't even put two words together, never mind write stuff as good as this:

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

And that's just the first paragraph!

I think I first read this book about ten years ago, but it's worth reading again. Luckily, the Stanley Kubrick film is playing next week at SIFF Cinema, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it holds up.

Book Twentyfour: The Right Attitude to Rain

The Right Attitude to Rain, Alexander McCall Smith

I've decided that I am no longer going to feel embarrassed about reading these books because, gosh-darnit, I like them! And I think they're good! So, there, I've said it. I enjoyed this one quite a bit, though I do find it interesting that he's totally veered away from the whole mystery part of it (even as tenuous a grasp as the previous mysteries had on the whole mystery genre to begin with). On this one he even changed the cover to read, "An Isabel Dalhousie Novel" rather then "An Isabel Dalhousie Mystery". I do find the Isabel character very appealing, and I can't seem to get enough of this whole world he's created, with her life in Edinburgh, her relationships with her niece and her friend Jamie, and her moral philosophizing. Now if only I could decide if it's worth it to buy the fourth book in hardcover or if I have patience to wait for it to come out in paperback.