It’s Monday! is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.
I’ve been reading a ton lately, and people keep asking me how I’m reading so much when I’m so busy. I don’t know how to answer that — somehow I seem to read more when I’m under stress. Does that make sense? I did spend ten hours on a plane last weekend, which helped.
In the last couple of weeks, I finished and posted reviews for Life After Life, Charlotte Street, and Cat’s Cradle. Upcoming reviews are Gillespie and I by Jane Harris, Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, and The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley.
What I’m reading now is The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami and I love it. What a strange book but the way it’s written, I don’t want to put it down. This is my second book by Murakami. Last year I read Norwegian Wood, which is considered one of his “more accessible” (less strange) books. I like this one even better.
Having finished Cat’s Cradle and Gillespie and I, I have a question for the readers out there. What do you think makes a book historical fiction? Is it enough that a book is set in the past? Or does there need to be more? For example, is the author’s purpose to really explain a certain period in time? Does it need to be a specific historical incident like a war? Does it need to have characters based on actual persons? Does it need to be based on factual research and provide details about life in that time?
Cat’s Cradle seemed more like science fiction than historical fiction to me, but I think it meets the characteristics I just described more than Gillespie and I, which takes place in 1888 but barely tells you anything about the time and place. I like a good genre-bending novel, and I think it’s a good thing when a book can’t be neatly categorized. Still, I’ve been oddly troubled by this lately (it’s my semi-compulsive need for order and lists).
Another thing that’s troubling me. A few weeks ago I went searching for good books written by Australian authors. I was fortunate to pick up one on NetGalley, and the other two I downloaded first chapters from Amazon (The Light Between Oceans, Questions of Travel, and Floundering). The problem? I just didn’t warm to any of the three. All three are award winners, but I couldn’t see myself sitting down and reading any of them. It makes me a little sad that I’m heading to Australia and couldn’t find an Australian book I wanted to read.
On the positive side, I am super-excited to have scored a copy of Naomi Novik’s upcoming book in the Temeraire series, Blood of Tyrants (out in August). Thanks, NetGalley and Random House/Del Rey!
Well, those are my musings on this Monday. Happy Reading!