Monday, March 8, 2010

Other Books

I finished another book before reading Middlesex, I just didn't write about it because I read it in about a day and was onto the next so quickly I hadn't had the chance to reflect on it.  Grace, Eventually is Anne Lamott's third book of short essays and stories about faith and spirituality and life.  I read Traveling Mercies, her first, while in a Women and Spirituality class in college, and loved it.  I still remember laughing out loud reading that, upon seeing a small child's pet dog, she told the kid "That is the ugliest cat I've ever seen" to make him laugh.

Grace, Eventually is not quite as substantial as Traveling Mercies.  It's an enjoyable read, and I can tell Anne Lamott's words are heartfelt, but it just felt a bit dashed off and flimsy.  I don't mean that as meanly as it sounds - it's still a good book.  But the everyday tales she tells that remind her of deeper truths seem somehow arbitrary to me, as if she could choose any event in her life and pair with any given truth, and work a story out of it.

I feel like I would like Anne Lamott very much if I knew her.  She's funny, deep, and genuine.  Grace, Eventually just didn't do it for me as much as I'd hoped.  I took it out of the library, and I know I won't bother to buy a copy of it.  If I already owned a copy, though, I'm sure I'd occasionally page through it.  Should you read it?  Yes, but if you're going to buy an Anne Lamott book, buy Traveling Mercies.

Now, on a completely different note, I'm reading The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse.  I've recently been watching Jeeves and Wooster, the 1990s British TV show about an idle-rich, dim sort of young man and his clever valet, and I've liked the show enough to seek out the books it was based on.  The stories contained in The Inimitable Jeeves are perfect to read while eating or preparing for bed: light, witty, self-contained tales of the foolishness caused by Bernie Wooster and solved by Jeeves.  It was written in 1923, and has all sorts of cool Twenties slang.  I'm loving it.

Incidentally, Hugh Laurie played Bertie Wooster on the TV show, and if there's ever been a character less like Dr. House, I don't know who it could be.


  1. Hey there, stumbled across your blog by chance. I met Scarlett Thomas at the Kings Lynn Fiction Festival this weekend (I was one of the performers too) And she's lovely. Intelligent, witty and cool...

    Like the blog btw

  2. So glad to hear she's as awesome as I imagined her from reading her books!

    She's made a point of saying that fans of her work shouldn't bother reading any of her Lily Pascale mysteries, since she didn't really enjoy having to write those and didn't think much of them. I haven't read them, but am tempted to...

    Glad you like the blog! I took a look at your "always have a notebook" and really liked it - those writing exercises you mention sound like fun!