Book Thirtyeight: Arcadia

Arcadia, Tom Stoppard

Tom Stoppard is super funny. Reading Tom Stoppard might even be better than seeing Tom Stoppard performed, just so you can take time to appreciate all the jokes and the references (and also, perhaps, look up some of those references, ahem). And despite the whole, tired science-as-metaphor-for-life schtick, this really worked for me. Honestly, give me enough funny and I can forgive even the worst gimmicks.

Book Thirtyseven: The Night Season

The Night Season, Chelsea Cain

My favorite thing about the latest installment in this Portland-based serial killer series? The most preposterous murder weapon ever! Honestly, I don't want to spoil it for anyone who wants to read this book, but trust me, you would never have guessed this one. Some serious suspension of disbelief is required. Otherwise, I'm glad that Chelsea Cain backed off on the whole Gretchen Lowell thing because it was becoming a little much. But detective Archie Sheridan is back along with his kicky little sidekick reporter Susan Ward, and they are trying to figure out who is killing people and throwing them in the rising river as the Willamette threatens to flood all of Portland.

Since I mostly read these books for the terrific Portland ambiance, I was happy that this one really played that whole aspect up. I loved the non-stop rain, the flooding river, and the overall dark creepiness. Otherwise, this was pretty formulaic, though the formula continues to work for me.

Book Thirtysix: Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

We had a Bronte sisters smackdown* at my recent book club. Since I read Jane Eyre last year I picked up Wuthering Heights in order to compare. But oof, I have to say, this book doesn't hold a candle to Jane Eyre. I can't even handle making a comparison. And I'm not talking about the fact that all the characters are so hateful (a criticism that, I think I've mentioned previously, drives me nuts when applied to any book), I'm talking about the structure of the book and the clunky writing. So, the story is told by Lockwood, a new tenant at the Grange, who hears most of the story from Mrs. Dean, who peppers her story with first hand accounts from others. So essentially this book is second, third, and fourth-hand accounts of the action. It gets so convoluted and the premise is so strained at times that I'm sure I heaved many audible sighs of disgust and/or impatience.

And my two cents: I had always assumed this was a love story, but to me this is a story of hate. Of such deep, horrible hate and deeply, horribly hateful people whose only goals are to bring down everyone in their paths. I don't mind books about hate, but this was some seriously dark hate that completely eclipsed any love story that could have been there.

Oh, and lastly: girt eedle seeght. Yup, that's all I have to say about that.

*The results of the smackdown? All but one of us preferred Jane Eyre or, at least, did not enjoy Wuthering Heights. So there.