April Reviews- Living Forever, Race, Homosexuality, and Running Over Kids

So this happened (somehow):

Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas
324 pages
I hoped this book was going to be better than it ended up being; it was about an English writer who writes serial fiction while trying to hammer our her overdue "real" novel. She ends up reading a book mistakenly (she is also a reviewer) and ends up semi-tackling the idea of whether we can live forever, while contemplating having an affair. This doesn't sound completely horrible, but the fact that at times it's downright boring ruins the novel as a whole. It could be worse, but it could have been much better. The cover is pretty cool, though. 

Verdict: Pass

A Single Man by Christopher Ishwerwood
192 pages
This groundbreaking novel was written during the 1960s in a time where homosexuality wasn't exactly embraced (not that it completely is today), which is just one of the reasons why I really appreciated it. It tells the story of a man whose partner has died and he must still live his everyday life while grieving and deciding how to fulfill his desires. The borderline novella takes place within one day, something that can be tough to do effectively for some authors. Yes it is a movie, and now I haven't seen it.

Verdict: I think it's a quick, interesting read. If you find homosexuality offensive READ IT ANYWAY and get up to speed with the twenty-first century

Carry the One by Carol Anshaw
272 pages
This will definitely be on my second annual "reading by the water" list. It was a decent read- not overly challenging, but not crap. It tells the story of a group of people that end up hitting, and killing, a little girl on the way home from a wedding. The story tracks them over the next few decades; which is where my problems with the book arise. I think the plot stays interesting, but Anshaw doesn't do the best job creating a cohesive text from beginning to end.

Verdict: If you like plot driven books than this is a good one for you; it stays pretty high-interest throughout. 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
376 pages
I had to reread this for work, and I have to say it was a damn good thing I decided to. I remembered very little! This actually causes me great anxiety (like seriously, for reals, no joke) - what else have I forgotten?

Verdict: If you enjoy a good racial satire go for it. Honestly, everyone should read it at one time or another!

All Will Be Revealed by Robert Anthony Siegel
280 pages
Every time I think about the title of this book I start humming Kashmir by Led Zeppelin... Anyway, this novel was surprisingly really, really good. The main character owns a turn of the century pornographic catalog that allows men to order prints to "enjoy" at home. One of his models loses her baby and he ends up in contact with a psychic of sorts that changes his life. While this description makes the whole novel sound like a dirty fraud, I promise that it's really so much more than smut (in fact, it is never sexually graphic, as that's really not what the book is about). Well written and really interesting.

Verdict: If you're hoping for soft core porn, definitely don't even attempt this book, since it's anything but. If you're in the mood for something a little old-fashioned, slightly scandalous, and you like mental hospitals, you may enjoy it. 

The Barbarian Nurseries by Hector Tobar
432 pages
This was definitely my favorite book this month, as it reminded me a little of T.C. Boyle. This book is about a upper-class Orange County family that is slowly going broke. They accidentally/temporarily abandon their two children in the care of their Mexican (and illegal) nanny. The book ends up becoming a vehicle for discussing race, politics, immigration, class and marriage. It's definitely Tortilla Curtain's 2012 counterpart (well, 2011, since that was when it was published).

Verdict: I think everyone should read it, liberal or not. There is more to illegal immigration that one assumes.

I have my doubts how much I'll read in May, considering I feel like I'm drowning in work-related things right now (not in a bad way, I just have a lot to do).


  1. Adding a couple of these to my list!! Thanks for the reviews. :)

  2. You must read lightening-fast. I read all the time, and I finish nowhere near the number of pages you do.*