Opposite Ends of the Spectrum

book cover for The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

With the holidays and everything, I’m just now getting around to posting about the latest books I’ve finished.  One of my goals for this year is to finish up the books I’m in the middle of (there are about 5 or so).  It seems silly to just keep jumping from book to book without finishing them.  In an effort to do that, I recently picked up Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna (which for some reason, I keep referring to as the Big Kahuna in my head).  This book was one of the Artful Readings selections (my book club) over the summer.  I was so excited to read it, because I loved The Poisonwood Bible.  And you may remember, I even had Prodigal Summer out to read over the summer as well (I never got around to it, unfortunately).  But, I started Lacuna for my book club and was enjoying it, I just didn’t get it finished in time for our meeting.  I go anyway when this happens, because the discussion is still worth it and oftentimes it spurs me into finishing because the discussion is so good (plus there’s wine).  I put down Lacuna afterwards and actually didn’t pick it up again until late in the year.  But once I picked it up again, I was hooked.

Harrison’s friendship with Frida was so interesting, and his life in Mexico was so rich with color and imagery. I was thrilled with the twists and turns throughout the book as well as the symbolism of the howlers and the Lacuna itself, even the little jade figure. In a book so rich with vivid details, I found this one to be the one that stuck with me from early in the book…

“At the end of the tunnel the cave opens up to light, a small salt-water pool in the jungle. Almost perfectly round, as big across as this bedchamber, with sky straight up, dappled and bright through the branches. Amate trees stood in a circle around the water hole like curious men, gaping because a boy from another world had suddenly arrived in their pool. The pombo trees squatted for a close look, with their knobbly wooden knees poking up out of the water. A tiger heron stood one-legged on a rock, cocking an unfriendly eye at the intruder. San Juan Pescadero the kingfisher zipped back and forth between two perches, crying, ‘Kill him kill him kill him!’

Piles of stone blocks lay in a jumble around the edges of the pool, a broken-down something made of coral rock. Vines scrambled all over the ruin, their roots curling down through it like fingers in sand. It was a temple or something else very ancient.”

I loved the juxtaposition in the book between Mexico and the US, between the ancient world and the threat of the bomb and Communism.

I highly recommend this one.  And just like Poisonwood Bible, I think this is a book that is going to stick with me for a long while.  Really a beautiful book.

book cover for City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

After finishing Lacuna, I treated myself to a new purchase in honor of passing my certification exam that had been hanging over my head for months.  I decided to pick up City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.  I’d heard good things about this series and I needed a good, quick read to finish out the year.  I didn’t quite get this one finished by the end of the year (I just finished it last night), but it was a good way to end the year nonetheless.

This is a YA book, and I love the world Cassandra Clare has created.  The characters are interesting and interact with each other well.  I love the backstory of the Nephilim as well as the use of runes to mark themselves.  So interesting.  Clary is a great main character, and while the ending took a twist I wasn’t expecting and I’m not entirely sure I’m happy with, I can’t wait to delve into the next book in the trilogy.

So, there you go – a little glimpse into what I’ve been reading lately – two totally different books.  And as for what’s next, I’ll be reading The Forgery of Venus by Michael Gruber for book club later this month.  Then I think I’ll get back to some of the books I’ve got in progress and finish them up.  I’ve got lots I want to read this year and I can’t wait to get to them!

What are you reading?

2 thoughts on “Opposite Ends of the Spectrum”

  1. Great recaps! I just finished Water for Elephants. I may be the last person around to read it but I loved it! I can read it all over again. Book club is Tuesday…can’t wait to meet with folks to talk about the book. 🙂

  2. I am in the middle of Lacuna, reading it on my new Kindle! I looove Barbara Kingsolver’s prose and this book is no exception. I’m about half way through the book and Lev Trotsky has just been killed. I can’t imagine where it will go from here, but I’m glad it’s going to be going somewhere. I’m hoping not more political people. I’m waiting for the main character to acknowledge his sexuality and become a writer.

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