Monday, January 4, 2010

Holiday Reading

Well, I’m back from my lovely two week holiday. Vacations nowadays aren’t quite as self-indulgent and lazy as they used to be, but they still beat working, so I’m certainly not complaining!

I only had the chance to read two books, both adult, one fiction and one non-fiction. Both very good. I did spend a ridiculous amount of time watching the marathon of Income Property on HGTV at my parent’s house. And then I also caught part of a marathon of Property Virgins that was all in Austin. And I couldn’t help but think that those people would have been better off doing their own research. I mean if you have $300,000 and want to buy a house close in, there is absolutely NO reason to settle for a house in Round Rock. Nothing wrong with Round Rock, but come on. That’s a lot of house that money could buy you in a nice fabulous neighborhood right by downtown. I found the host incredibly annoying too. She was smug or something. Blech.

So the books…

A Boy of Good Breeding by Miriam Toews

I couldn’t contain my love for the author in a previous post. This one was still good. Lots of quirky Manitobans here, but I didn’t love it as much as the previous books I’ve read by her. I did love Hosea, the mayor of Algren, Canada’s smallest town.

Algren was Canada’s smallest town. It really was. Canada’s Smallest Town. It said so on a big old billboard right outside the town limits and Knute had checked with one of those government offices in the blue pages and they said fifteen hundred is what you need for a town. And that’s what Algren had. If it had one less it would be a village and if it had just one more it would be a bigger town. Like all the rest of the small towns. Being smallest was its claim to fame.

Hosea is obsessed with keeping the population exactly at 1500. So much so he’s started a notebook where he tallies the births and deaths, the moves, and the one farm that keeps jumping in and out of the town limits. Why is he so obsessed? The reason does come to light and is humorous and heart wrenching at the same time. So very quirky, but perhaps lacking some of the depth of character of her other books. I’d read The Flying Troutmans, or A Complicated Kindness before I tackled this one.

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

A little out of character for me, since this is an adult non-fiction, but it made some best of the year lists (’s maybe?) and it sounded intriguing. It tells the tale of the spectacularly interesting 1925 disappearance of British explorer Percy Fawcett who travelled to the Amazon in search of the fabled City of Z.

Honestly, it was fascinating. The author does a complete biography of Fawcett, goes over his previous explorations, and everything that happens after his disappearance. I really enjoyed this. I won’t tell you what the author deduces happened to Fawcett, but I really respected his research and his writing. It was exciting and breathtaking.


Book Source: Library Copies


joanna said...

Property Virgins really sucks you in. I find myself watching it when it comes on and the Round Rock thing happens a lot - people want one thing, but when given the option of farther out but a whole bigger place - they seem to go for the bigger place more often than not.

No reading to report on my vacation other than what will take place at the Mock Printz on Monday! Bring it!

Jenn H. said...

Ha! I also took the chance to read some adult books, fiction and non-fiction. Maybe I'll post those later.

Kerry said...

There's totally nothing wrong with buying close in, but there's nothing wrong with buying in Round Rock, either. I prefer to have a lot of space and I can afford that in Round Rock. I cannot afford that in the middle of Austin. Of course, I also think the real estate in the middle of Austin is over-valued, too. I just can't imagine spending that kind of money and getting a house the size of my cat's litter box.

The only reading I've done over "vacation" is a big 400 page tome on the 1918 influenza pandemic. It was really good, but I can't believe it took me two weeks to read it, either. I am looking forward to the new year's new crop of good YA literature (not to mention a few of the trashy romance novels I must confess to reading).

Patti said...

Ha Kerry, I wasn't meaning to sound snobbish about RR. It was just these people wanted a very short commute they wanted to be next to downtown and in a funky neighborhood and they totally could have afforded it. What I meant was that they would have been better searching on their own. Without an exception, all of them could have gotten a good sized house close in and met all of their wants. Obviously, when it came down to it they didn't value those things as much as they thought they did in the beginning. Really all I'm saying is that if I had $300,000 to spend on a house I know I'd have done better than that real estate agent.

Kerry said...

They sure won't get a lot of space for that price that close in, though. Anyway, no swear. I took no offense. :)