Mean Girl to the Rescue!

How'm I gonna save the world when the world ain't ready?

Friday, November 11, 2005


After being on the library waiting list for-evah, I finally laid my hands on one of their numerous (no doubt) copies of The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova. This book was the big "get" at this year's BEA (though it was long-gone by the time I heard about it), and it's gotten a lot of press since then. Most of the press seemed to be about how, at 642 pages, it might make a better doorstop than good read (link via Gael at Test Pattern).

I was a bit daunted by the bad press - long ago are the days when I happily buried myself in some endless novel like The Stand (I loved it so passionately that my friend Kim dubbed it "The Ultimate Book of All Time," and I was mightily annoyed that she refused to read it. Ah, to be 14 again!). Now, the idea of slogging through hundreds of pages of text, full of descriptions of Wallachian scenery, all while I'm riding the El and trying not to listen to that cell phone conversation 2 seats away? Not appealing.

I brought the book along to a work appointment that was certain to feature long periods of time waiting and doing nothing: that way, I'd have no escape from The Book. I would force myself to read it, if only to escape incipient boredom. But I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't have as much time as I would've liked to read it, and I got into it pretty quickly.

Now, at page 492, things have slowed a bit (the translated letters of the Snagov monks are rather soporific), but I'm still happy that I invested some time in the book. It's not the overblown dramafest of Interview with the Vampire, but what is, now that Anne Rice has taken to writing novels about Christ as a youth? Verdict: recommended.

An interesting thing that the Seattle Library is doing: allowing you to download audio books. Sweet! Perhaps if they don't continue to cut the funding of SE Pennsylvania's libraries, this is something we can eventually expect from the Free Library of Philadelphia.


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