The Man with the Golden Arm

On to the book challenge…Ready set….

The Man with the Golden Arm by Nelson Algren
1949, Seven Stories Press
National Book Award Winner, 1950
National Book Award Winner Blog

I’m just a few page into Algren’s masterpiece. I had no idea what to expect. A cop, a drug addict, a police statioin. I was only 8 pages in when I realized my leisure reading hat would need to be replaced, and quickly, with my critical reading beret. Quite a challege for a girl who has completely neglected her reading for a year.

If you feel like reading with me, do. I’m eager to talk to someone about this book as I’m going through it. More to come.

The Time Traveler’s Wife – Fin

I know it’s not on my book challenge, but I just finished reading The Time Traveler’s Wife today. I’ll try not to spoil the ending.

First off, I liked it because it was unique. Typically stories about time travel make my eyes go crossed. Have you seen the movie with Denzel Washington – Deja Vu? Uhg, terrible. Well, this book wasn’t quite like that. As I’ve said in a previous post, the time traveler, Henry, moves through time both backward and forward. It’s a precarious situation considering he leaves his clothes in whatever time he is in when he travels. It’s a dangerous business showing up in someone’s backyard or a subway station in any kind of weather in the nude.

This leaving-your-clothes situation creates an awkward first meeting with his wife – a six-years-old child at the time – when he shows up in her backyard completely naked. And here is the problem I see in the novel. Nothing sinister happens and you really don’t get the sense that something will happen, but there is just something a little creepy about the nude 40-year-old and the six-year-old child. Just sayin’. Luckily, I was able to get past this by page 120 and didn’t really dwell on it for the rest of the novel.

If you’re looking for a happy story, this is not it. I did, however, find it very “true.” The “science-fictiony” plot points in the novel were almost superfluous to the relationship between Henry and Clare. While it gave an interesting twist to a “meet and fall in love” story, their lives together gave a touching and sometimes brutal depiction of falling in love, getting married, having children, and losing the ones you love…and waiting.

Have fun reading. I hope I didn’t give too much away.

I didn’t forget my book club.

I did hit a bit of a snag with my reading goal. Not a bad snag, but a snag none the less. I have been “working on” Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife. Needless to say I’m not finished with it. I do want to finish it so I’ll have to wait on the first book of my goal. So, for this post, I’ll talk about Time Traveler.

I’m going to be honest. This book makes me somewhat uncomfortable. It is a very interesting story and is uniquely set up with first person narration coming from two different characters.

Spoiler Alert! Don’t read any more if you haven’t read the book.

I’m only about 80 pages into the story. It is a love story between the time traveler (Henry) and Clare. The idea is that (Henry) actually met his wife, Clare, when she was a little girl. Now, I wouldn’t really automatically assume that it is a sexual relationship, but the Henry character keeps making allusions to that effect. It’s starting to creep me out just a little bit. I’m also beginning to sense that something a little more serious is going to happen between the two. Don’t spoil it if you’ve read the book.

The idea of the time traveler is a unique concept and I’m enjoying the book, despite the creepiness.

Not Your Average Book Club

I’m going to tell you my little secret. It’s a dirty little secret that only my husband knows. I’m so ashamed to say it. Last year, I only read two books. TWO. And one of those books was What to Expect When You’re Expecting and the other was Double Cross by James Patterson. It’s embarrassing. Ridiculous. Shameful. Humiliating. For those of you who don’t know me personally, I’m making this confession because I have a bachelor’s degree in English. Not only that, I have a master’s degree in British and American literature. Something has to be done. Something drastic.

At first I thought about pulling out my master’s exam list and reading my way through the books I should have read in graduate school. Unfortunately, I cannot bring myself to read Jane Eyre or Frankenstein for the hundredth time. So I decided on something a little more manageable. A little more…already organized for me.

Goal: Read all 77 National Book Award fiction winners. What better way to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the National Book Award? The National Book Foundation did blog about each of the books (so a great resource as I go through them).

Timeline: 18 months (roughly 4 books per month)

Challenge: To all of you readers out there. Check out the fiction blog for the list of past winners.

I’m beginning with the first book to ever win the award – Nelson Algren’s The Man with the Golden Arm