Earlier this month I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
I just finished Big Machine by Victor LaValle-- and what a book. It's sprawling, and he's packing a lot in there, and it's magical and dark and noir-ish, and more. About 2/3's of the way through, he makes some very risky choices, and they are the most felt choices in the book, to me. I was happily reading along, and then the stakes get higher, but never in a typical stake-heightening kind of way. These are outlandish scenes and happenings that feel haunting and unsettling and right. His progression does feel Murakami-like to me, (a big compliment from me, because I just love how Murakami tells a story); LaValle's a very different writer, and Ricky Rice's voice is very appealing, another reason I thorougly enjoyed the book-- but I was just so thrilled to experience the risk and reward of that development.Visit Aimee Bender's website.
Soon I'll be reading Marilynne Robinson's Home-- I just started it and I'm going to bring it with me on my book tour. I loved Gilead, and Home is about one of the characters in Gilead. And I read Gilead last summer-- it took a certain kind of quiet state of mind to read it-- it's not that it's slow, it's just quiet, and each page takes time and concentration to absorb. The language is gorgeous and I found Gilead so moving-- these letters written by a religious man, a preacher, to his very young son, as he's dying. So I'm actually looking to Home to be a kind of antidote, too, to airports and travel and scurrying.
Also just finished Belly Up, by Stu Gibbs-- a new book for the 9-12 crowd, (and beyond) about a possible hippo murder at a zoo. Very funny and lively-- and a good kind of sophisticated kid mystery.
And I'm still rereading Amy Gerstler's new book of poems, Dear Creature. Just the first one-- a love letter to her niece, kept me rereading several times before I could move along. Then poems from the points of views of animals, including a great one from a dog explaining why it is glorious to smell shit, and how we misunderstand it all, and each poem so full of heart and smarts and imagination.
The Page 99 Test: Aimmee Bender's Willful Creatures.