I'm joining a book club next week! As a result, my first #fridayreads of 2012 is Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits, a novel about a few generations of the del Valle and Trueba families in Latin America during the 20th century. This is a dense book, folks; there is so much rich description and detail that it is taking me a while to read it. What I have read so far, however, is definitely rich fodder for book discussion: a mermaid-like girl, a strict Catholicism amidst new socialist values, a bit of psychic premonition, and a cycle of pain and misfortune that seems to circle Esteban Trueba and his family. I'm interested to hear the discussions next week.
Also read this week: Why We Broke Up, written by Daniel Handler and illustrated by Maira Kalman. In the first few chapters, I was annoyed with how self-absorbed the narrator, Min, is while she's listing the reasons she and her ex Ed broke up. She goes through their relationship and the reasons for its demise with the help of small objects she kept throughout their time together--these make up Kalman's illustrations, which are her signature brand of brightly-colored, more-than-everyday portrayals of everyday things. As the novel went on, however, I really got to enjoying the novel despite never really finding Min or Ed very sympathetic. To me, they were just two teenagers who were too self-involved--of course they were going to break up! But maybe that's the point, this is just a close-up look at an everyday breakup, brightly-colored so that for the duration of the novel it's a bit more than just everyday.