The Sunday Salon~Playing Catch Up

Reading this week has been something of a mash up – I was in the middle of both The Brothers Karamazov and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, when I realized that This One is Mine was on my review calendar for next week.  So I found myself reading three very different novels at one time. 

Really, I think I’m getting too old for that, because things were quite confuddled for a while.   So this afternoon’s Sunday Salon post is an attempt to straighten it all out in my head.

The Brothers Karamazov, Part II:  When Part II started out, I thought we were going to get to know the Brothers K a bit better.  But actually, all the action nearly stops in this section while Ivan and Zosima the monk are given the opportunity to discourse on their respective faiths.  I have to admit, Dostoevsky was a hard go for me this week. 

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo:  I know I’m late to the Stieg Larsson party, but I’m certainly eager to catch up after reading this first installment in his “Girl” series.  This almost-character-driven-psychological-mystery was a treat, and kept me up one night long past my bedtime.  I understand a movie has just been released, although I’m not sure if I could handle the violence on the big screen. 

This One is Mine: According to the blurb, the novel’s main character Violet Parry has a “picture perfect life – a beautiful house, a successful husband, a darling baby.”  Indeed, Violet seems to have every woman’s dream life, right down to the freedom to purchase hats from Paris on a whim or spend hundreds of dollars on artisanal chocolates.  Sadly, it’s just not enough – Violet seems to need the attentions of a scruffy street corner musician to make her life interesting and exciting. 

Speaking of getting old – I think I’m just too old to read/appreciate these novels.  They SO have 30-something written all over them.   This One is Mine, by screenwriter-turned novelist Maria Semple, is fast paced and acerbically witty, and I’m think the 30-40 year old crowd would love it.  Sadly, an old broad like me just can’t relate.(Love the cover, though 🙂

And what will I be ravenously reading next week??

Hmmm…will continue with The Brothers K and see how I fare; and have just started a book I picked up at the library earlier today called Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.  Here’s what I know about this novel, the first for Helen Simonson:

When Major Pettigrew, a retired British army major in a small English village, embarks on an unexpected friendship with the widowed Mrs. Ali, who runs the local shop, trouble erupts to disturb the bucolic serenity of the village and of the Major’s carefully regimented life.
As the Major and Mrs. Ali discover just how much they have in common, including an educated background and a shared love of books, they must struggle to understand what it means to belong and how far the obligations of family and tradition can be set aside for personal freedom. Meanwhile, the village itself, lost in its petty prejudices and traditions, may not see its own destruction coming.


Indeed, I believe an old girl like me will simply love this one.

Now tell me, does your age influence the types of books you like to read?  Have your reading tastes changed as you’ve gotten (ahem) “older”?


14 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon~Playing Catch Up

  1. I cannot imagine reading anything along with The Brothers Karamazov, let alone two! My hat’s off to you, Becca! Take comfort in that many people, okay, most, were disappointed? Let down? Annoyed? with Part 2. But, I am encouraging participants to keep going because Part 3 and 4 are fascinating. They’re much more plot, much less lengthy discussion. Well, now I’ve finished the novel entirely, which frees me up for the stack of others on my list!

    • There were sections of Part II that I found really interesting – particularly the discussions about faith and what it meant to Ivan and to Zosima. I’m trying to get my thoughts together enough to post something coherent.

      I am definitely not giving up…onward to Part III!

    • Absolutely, completely adoring it…ran across it by accident and SO glad I did! It’s going to be my “tell everyone they must read it” book, I think.

  2. I’m in the middle of the Stieg Larsson (yup, I’m right behind the rest of the reading world with you here! 🙂 ) and enjoying it very much indeed! I thought it would be really unbearably violent, and it hasn’t been too awful so far. And I’ve seen lots of glowing reviews of the Major Pettigrew book. I would love to get hold if it myself.

    • The Larsson has one pretty terribly violent section, but it’s necessary I think to make us really see the dark side of this character.

      Major Pettigrew is amazing…I’m reading it very slowly to make it last as long a possible:)

  3. I have read the first one and a half of the Stieg Larssen books (the library wanted the second one back when I was only half way through and I haven’t had chance for another go yet) and quite enjoyed the first although I wasn’t quite as blown away as people told me I would be.
    I might buy them in paperback and try again though as there was a lot going on when I read the first and it may not have been the right time.
    As for does getting older change the way you look at certain books – yes to the degree that if the book is pretentious, smug or plain bad I have no problem with discarding it very quickly.
    I also have no time for the sort of fluffy chick-lit featuring spoiled and dithery twenty-and- thirty somethings who either still think Prince Charming exists or think they can have everything – but that could be because by the time I was 34 I had four kids under 10 and a huge mortgage and living real life rather than the dream!
    At 51 I still have time for fairytales but not if they masquerade as real life,

    • I think the Larsson books are worth another try. That genre isn’t always my thing, either, but this one was very captivating, I think because the characters are so well developed and interesting in their own right.

      I too had children and lots of repsonsbilities when I was in my 30’s. No time to whine!

  4. Thanks for the warning on THIS ONE IS MINE. Yes, I find my tastes evolving I should say as I mature, however, I find myself bounding around every third (serious) book or so to find either a chick lit or even YA or something not typically me. In fact, I have become far more eclectic and interested in other age groups and other types of books now than I can manage in music, where I seem to be stuck irrevocably in only several genres. (They played country music last night at the ballgame and I wanted to run out of the there hands clapped over my ears. But, I’m trying…!)
    Anyway, yes, I think above all and short of page turners, writing for the younger just doesn’t engage on all the levels and degrees we so love and look for, yet, as mentioined, the page-turning effect on a week night after a long day when you just need a little something can be just the thing.
    Would love to be in a book group with you!
    Your entries are informative and personable.

  5. There was a time when the chick-lit genre would have been just the thing for me –when I was in my 30’s and my mind was mush filled with work, and parenting, and caring for an elderly relative, I didn’t have much left over for “real” literature. Page turners and bodice rippers were about all I could handle!

    One of the nicer bits of getting “more mature” as you so nicely put it, is that my life (and mind!) have settled down a bit, so I can slow down and savor my reading moments a bit more.

  6. I’ve got much less patience with chick lit since I’m in my 40’s but have strangely become more attracted to YA!

  7. I enjoyed the Larsson, too. Thought it would be way out of my comfort zone, but I got completely absorbed. I thought the opening was very strong with the botanical prints being sent throught the post every year.

  8. When I was in college, I enjoyed reading Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov when everyone else was reading Vonnegut and Confederacy of Dunces (a book I have read three times and I still dislike intensely). In my early 30s I went through a phase where I read a lot of short fiction, much of it by woman, and I grew very tired of mini-skirted thirtysomethings who couldn’t love. I tend to steer clear of anything that smacks too much of chick lit, although like you I have This Is Mine on my review pile. We’ll see.

    Now I read a bit of everything, and like Kathleen, I recently have found myself reading, and really enjoying, some YA titles you would not have caught me dead with several years ago. I think I have become more open across the board, but also less patient in the sense that I am more likely to abandon a book that’s not working for me.

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