Monday, March 06, 2006

Reading List Book Report, Vol. I

I've gotten through the first two books on my reading list, Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri and The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas by Davy Rothbart. Here's my quick two cents.

Interpreter was a brilliant collection, well deserving of the Pulitzer Prize it won. Each of the nine stories is deceptively dense; they all read easily yet are intricately plotted. It's the best kind of writing: so carefully layered as to appear effortless. All the stories were good, but my favorites were the title story, "Sexy" (very awesome), and "Mrs. Sen's."

Lone Surfer I wanted to like, and it was all right, but coming after Lahiri's book it left me rather unsatisfied. Rothbart has talent, but most of his efforts read like anecdotes rather than stories. In particular, more than a few of the eight entries in the book seemed to just end abruptly, as if he got tired of writing. If I had to pick favorites, I'd go with "Lie Big," "Elena," and the title story, even though it had a rotten ending.

I'm about one-third of the way through the next book, the novel No Place, Louisiana by Martin Pousson, and I'll be back with another in-depth three-sentence review when I've finished it.