Boyoboy, it’s great having a big chunk of time for reading – and enough great books to fill it. Which, thankfully, I did over the Thanksgiving holiday, so here’s the scoop.
First up is a really fun read about psychoanalysts by Irvin Yalom, who teaches psychiatry at Stanford and became an eminent writer in his field before turning to fiction. Here’s Irvin. If he doesn’t look the part of a shrink – or a Communist revolutionary – I don’t know what. His Lying on the Couch was a hit with my book group, including this member, and I’ll be reading more of him the next chance I get.
Next is a recent Oprah pick, so you may have already heard of it. It’s A Million Little Pieces by James F rey, who’s more my type. Very Springsteenian, don’t ya think? This is Frey’s fascinating and gut-wrenching memoir of his three-month rehab at the Hazelton Institute. Unlike most rehab stories, this one totally rejects a Higher Power, AA, and its Twelve Steps, so it has the added appeal for me of being controversial. Soon to be released in movie form, it may even shake up the drug and alcohol recovery field, which is now totally wedded to AA as the only alternative to certain death.
And last and actually least is the book I expected to like the most – Ian McEwan’s much-praised Saturday. Heck, I’m a huge fan of McEwan and I even went to a local reading, so I was primed, probably too primed. To this humble reader, his account of a day in the life of a London neurosurgeon just prior to the invasion of Iraq would have made a better short story. I may be exaggerating but it seemed like it took 20 pages to get the guy out of bed, then another 30 to feed him breakfast. Sad to say, if you read the excerpt in The New Yorker, that’s probably enough.
SO, I’m back home now and life interferes with reading but I’m hoping to get to the fourth book I shlepped to Arizona – A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. I loved his High Fidelity and About a Boy, both made into pretty good movies, and hated his next effort, How to Be Good, so it could go either way. This is about four people who meet on the roof of a building from which they all intend to jump, which is a pretty intriguing premise. [Update: Since I drafted this post I started reading the book and realized immediately that it was too close to home. I know someone who actually jumped, so why I thought I'd enjoy the "intriguing premise" is beyond me.]