a couple of weeks ago i perused the nyt's 100 notable books of 2007 and decided to knock of a couple of the top fiction pics while i was recovering from sinus surgery. i meant to get a little more reading accomplished during my five days "off," but i only knocked back the books listed below.
then we came to the end, by joshua ferris
since this novel about a failing advertising agency has often been compared to the office, i thought it would be filled with snarky characters and riddled with cutting dialog. however, the tone of the book was quite different than that of the t.v. show. then we came to the end is not a comedy so much as it is a corporate character study on the way we - and i use that pronoun quite literally since most of the sentences have a 1st person plural subject - often loathe, sometimes love and always rely on our work. while reading the novel i did not laugh often, but i was often struck by ferris' insight into corporate politics and colleague relations. if you think you're interested, i'd recommend picking it up in the library when you get a chance. it's not a book that i would shell out money for, but i suspect ferris will pen purchase worthy tales in the future.
the abstinence teacher, by tom perotta
this is the story of a middle-aged, progressive sex-ed teacher who opens her mouth to discuss oral sex only to have a true love waits curriculum shoved down her throat, and a smoked out, divorced deadhead whose been captured by Jesus and called to keep his promises.* within the context of the affluent northeastern suburb in which they live, these two characters somehow stumble into the midst of the so called culture wars and unexpectedly find their lives intertwined in more ways than one. although i thought perotta's portrait of evangelicalism was a tad simplistic, especially in regards to the variety of evangelical we grow up here in the godforsaken cesspool of liberalism, i was overwhelmed by his ability to portray the transformation that takes place when partisans truly receive the other. the abstinence teacher is a moving book that i heartily recommend to one and all.
what's up next?
i'm going to try and finish krakauer's under the banner of heaven because i've come too far to quit and i have heard too many good things about alan hirsch's the forgotten ways to ignore the complimentary copy dr. james so graciously provided for much longer. i'm also thinking about continuing my nyt trend by diving into dennis johnson's tree of smoke and have been itching to taste a little berry lately, so i'll probably give nathan coulter a go sooner or later.
is there anything you've recently consumed and would recommend? if so, do tell.
* is that a tortured sentence or what? its a wonder i ever passed comp II.