Let’s chat about some recent reads, shall we?
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
In the latter half of 2012, this book was everywhere. And naturally, the movie rights were just purchased, so Where’d You Go, Bernadette will be headed soon to a theater near you. The story follows the tale of a brilliant architect and mother named Bernadette who relocates to Seattle with her Microsoft-employed husband…and slowly unravels intellectually and socially, until she eventually disappears. The plot is told through traditional narration as well as cobbled together through emails, letters from her daughter’s school, and Microsoft memos. As is the case with anything that is overly hyped in pop culture, I found the novel to be a tad underwhelming. But I still recommend it; as a reader, you do want to know what happens to Bernadette, which is enough to keep you chugging along.
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
From the author of Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides comes The Marriage Plot, a 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The plot loosely mirrors aspects of Eugenides’ own life as an Ivy League grad in the ’80s who travels to Calcutta on a soul-searching mission. The three main characters, all recent grads of Brown University, are embroiled in a love triangle that spans continents. As a (somewhat) recent college grad, I definitely felt I could relate to the characters’ struggles, at times.
I kept reading because I wanted to know how the love triangle turned out, plain and simple. There were a few points in the novel that I was a little distracted by Eugenides’ pretentious academic tangents. Still, it’s a pretty good read.
On Writing by Stephen King
A group of co-workers and I selected this book as the first read for our inaugural Book Club—but we gave up on trying to coordinate our schedules to discuss it about a month ago. I still have hope we’ll resurrect it, but for the time being, I figured I’d just discuss it here.
I really enjoy Stephen King’s writing style, and I adored this book. He discusses his tried-and-true methods for producing good writing and bestows lessons gleaned from a life of professional storytelling. The book takes an unexpected turn toward the end, when King reveals that he was in the middle of penning On Writing when he was struck by a reckless motorist while walking in his hometown in Maine. King shines in these last few chapters, after his near-death encounter (truly—he is lucky to be alive). For anyone who enjoys writing or hopes to be a professional writer, I highly recommend this book.