Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Coast of Akron

I gave up about half-way through The Coast Of Akron by Adrienne Miller. It started out really great, and Miller is clearly a talented writer, but I thought the book lacked cohesion. Lately it seems like all the books I'm reading have these huge casts - I can barely keep track of all the characters. It's like I'm reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez all the time. And NOBODY can read Marquez ALL THE TIME.

If you're interested, The Coast of Akron is about this woman, Merit, and her parents, both artists, and her father's boyfriend, Fergus. Fergus is rich and eccentric - his story line is all boozy and complain-y, it gets a bit boring, despite the long passages about his gothic mansion in Ohio.

Last night I started reading "The Red Harvest" by Dashiell Hammett. A good, old-fashioned, single-narrator tale. I love reading Hammett, especially the ones that take place in San Francisco. It's so hilarious how his characters refer to their apartment buildings by name. M. and I used to try to do that ourselves - like, we'd say to our friends, "Let's so back to the Warrington for a drink." And our friends would say, "What's the Warrington?" It's cool living in a building with a name. My mom always wanted to name her house - like "Tara" or "Graceland". I think her latest idea is something like "Twelve Oaks", although she needs to plant approximately twelve oak trees before it makes any sense. We used to live on Post Street in SF, apparently Hammett lived down the block!


Kathy said...

When I first began reading Anna Karenina, I had to write the cast of characters and their relationships on an index card. Came in handy as a bookmark, too!

I'm enjoying "Everything is Illuminated" VERY much. Laugh out loud funny, some of it. It may end up being too clever for bedtime reading; I get too excited...

Special K said...

The first chapter of Everything is Illuminated is probably the funniest thing I ever read. Well, ok, maybe a close tie with the chapter on "The Rooster" in David Sedaris's Me Talk Pretty One Day. Have you also read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close? It's amazing.