books: january + february

2015 goals, reading

I’ve been keeping semi-track of the television I watch, but I haven’t been very good at reporting the books I’ve been reading. TV is just so much easier to consume in my after-work, only half-paying attention, my-brain-is-actually-sleeping haze.

But, I did finish up two books this year so far, in addition to all the TV I watch and countless news and magazine articles I consume. It feels like I’m constantly reading, which I am. I’m just not reading the items on my list.

So here’s to two more check marks on the list.
January: Game of Thrones, book four A Feast of Crows. I thought that when I finally finished this one, that I would want to take a break from the series for a while and read something else before starting book five. I mean, that’s what ended up happening, but not because I didn’t immediately want to start book five. There was a break because I didn’t have book five yet.
Of course the series is fantastic, and there isn’t much that I can add that hasn’t already been said. I’m eager to finish my current read so I can dig into book five. That’s incentive if I ever had any.
February: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon. It took some time for me to finally get into this one. The story is about two cousins who write comic books during the Golden Age before World War II. The boys are Jewish and live in New York City, one is a refuge from Czechoslovakia.
The narrative moves along nicely, but for about the first third I had a hard time paying attention. It finally grabbed me though, and the second half picked up the pace. The story makes the most sense for comic book lovers, or young adult boys. I picked it up originally because it won the Pulitzer Prize, and the title was called the author’s magnum opus by the New York Review of Books.

“The depth of Chabon’s thought, his sharp language, his inventiveness and his ambition make this a novel of towering achievement.” – The New York Times Book Review.

And the book really was good. Artfully crafted, with beautiful imagery, and wonderful and robust character development. It’s worth a read. It just happened to not be my ideal subject matter.

One of my favorite lines from the book comes from the “Odds and Ends” section; a sort-of epilogue.
“Why are you still reading? The book’s over. Go play outside.” The line caught me because I had spent so many evenings inside reading and watching TV that I was missing the spring sunshine and good weather.
“An ending is an arbitrary thing, an act of cowardice or fatigue, an expedient disguised as an aesthetic choice or, worse, a moral commentary on the finitude of life. Endings are as imaginary as the equator or the poles.” – Michael Chabon

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