Tag Archives: Eleanor Catton

Saunders, Catton, Bryson

I’ve been having one of the most challenging and exciting and dorkful reading life lately. At the heels of the first installment of The Annotated TBR, I started reading The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton and couldn’t help but dive into A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. And, because both books were (or either of them was) ridiculous for me to transport that one time I had to show up for a meeting, I also started George Saunders’ much-lauded, was-everywhere-in-2013 Tenth of December collection. I’m having so much fun. [Continue reading.]

The Annotated TBR #01

Here’s the first installment—because I expect there to be many—of The Annotated TBR. That is: Here’s a selection of some of the books in my to-be-read list; here are the books that, when I first held them at the bookstore, I felt that I should read at the very soonest, read right that minute, possessed and squirreled away. Basically: Here are the books I’ve ignored for the longest time. Maybe it’s a way to make amends? Maybe it’s a way to push myself? Maybe it’s a way to revisit that initial need and that urgency. We’ll see. [Continue reading.]


I sat patiently up to the sixtieth page, growing more and more bored by the second—how many ways can you insist that two people love each other even if (gasp!) they’re in their forties, and that this magical sex-strike just ruined everything? how many lackluster, unworthy-of-book-space characters (armed with their sex-lives-that-were) are you going to introduce us to? And then I realized I was being a complete idiot and just skimmed to the end. Where, lo and behold, the townspeople arrive at epiphanies and voice them publicly, on stage!—and the spell lifts and people can start bonking each other again! (It’s not Disney, goddammit!) And don’t forget the mysterious nomad who’s been—wink to the reader!—doing this for years. Hurray for magical Greek plays! Goddamnitall. [Continue reading.]

The story’s architecture

Real life from of February to August was overwhelmingly about work and its myriad demands—not to mention dealing with the consequent upheavals in other parts of my life because of those demands—my reading life was desperate at best, and lackluster at worst. I was quite unambitious, and even acknowledging that in those days wasn’t a comfort. I, again, simply wanted more. The challenge, I thought then, was a novel. A novel that I could get lost in—through the story perhaps, through its language, preferably. I wanted a novel that challenged, basically. Enter Eleanor Catton’s The Rehearsal, closely followed by Helen Oyeyemi’s Mr. Fox. Both books are characterized by unconventional storytelling, even a marked fascination with storytelling itself. In many ways, both books re-launched me into the world of fiction, helped me trudge on to where I am now, babbling to you, Dear Ether. [Continue reading.]