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November 01, 2005

October Reads

Bookish , I love lists! , What, me? Have an opinion?

Well, last month I hoped for a longer list of completed books this month. It is longer: I've gone from three to five. I'm still not really satisfied, though1. I want to be finishing a book every few days. I like myself better when I'm reading a lot. But that just isn't working out recently, for whatever reason. (Busyness, lack of focus, general sadness and ennui... take your pick.) And, again, I have lots of books I've read some of this month but not finished. I suppose I will, once again, pin my hopes on next month. Because, you know, with two jobs and school and NaNoWriMo and holiday knitting, I clearly have tons of time on my hands.

Well. Without further ado, here are the books I finished in October:

(Explanation of the ratings)

Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches by Tony Kushner
Genre: Drama
Rating: 4.5
Comments: I read this shortly after watching the mini-series2. Both were extremely well done and affecting, but I wish I'd read the plays first so as to avoid the "can only picture characters as those actors" syndrome. Anyway, the subtitle is "A Gay Fantasia on National Themes," which I suppose is as good a six-word description as any, although I'd like to emphasize that this title is not of interest to only gay audiences. It's set in the eighties and deals with interesting issues involving religion, sexuality, AIDS, marriage, family, modern American life, and more, and is both intellectually interesting and emotionally wrenching. Not to be missed.

Rag and Bone by Michael Nava
Rating: 4.5
Genre: Mystery
Comments: This is the seventh and last book in Nava's Henry Rios mystery series, but I read it first because it was the only one at the library. After a heart attack, lawyer/detective Henry makes some changes in his life, including mending his estranged relationship with his sister and beginning a new romantic relationship (which he had not expected to happen again after his partner died of AIDS). He discovers a niece and grandnephew he never knew and soon becomes involved in unraveling the secrets of their life, including defending his niece when she is accused of killing her husband. Henry is extremely appealing in a complicated, tortured sort of way, there are several compelling secondary characters, and the mystery plot itself, while slightly predictable at times, keeps the pages turning. The writing is beautiful and I love Henry's love of poetry. I couldn't put it down; Nava is now the newest addition to my "favorite authors" list.

Until the Real Thing Comes Along by Elizabeth Berg
Genre: Women's fiction
Rating: 2
Read my review here.

The Little Death by Michael Nava
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 4
Comments: The first in the Henry Rios series3. Not quite as amazing as Rag and Bone, but very very good. The mystery includes family secrets, legal drama, doomed romance, and all that fun stuff. Henry evolves over the course of the series in a way that many characters do not, so it was interesting to go from the last to the first. Now I'm working my way back in chronological order.

Goldenboy by Michael Nava
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 4
Comments: You guessed it! The second in the Henry Rios series. The murder in this one involves troubled teenagers and messed-up Hollywood types. Perhaps more importantly, though, the subplot is one of the best bittersweet romances I've read in quite a while. Again, I highly recommend the whole series.

1 I know! Aren't you shocked?
2 The mini-series includes both parts one and two of the play(s). I'm planning to read part two but just haven't gotten there yet.
3 Yes, I said the library only had the last one, but I was hooked, and my roommate, who recommended these in the first place, wanted to own them anyway, so he's been buying used copies that I've been reading.

Posted by Kat at November 1, 2005 02:49 PM

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