Am I even on-list anymore? (Answer: not really, but I fully intend to get back to it)
I'm reading just about everything somebody recommends to me these days. Thus I picked up the 26th book on my ever-expanding reading list, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. Historical fiction, WWII era, examination of the early years of the superhero comic book genre, and a whole slew of honors:
Pulitzer prize (2001)
New York Times Bestseller
National Book Critics Circle Award nomination (2000)
PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction nomination (2000)
Plus, it helped out with my total page count.
Total pages: 8,277
This is really a unique and fantastically-written story. I can't imagine the amount of research that had to go into writing it: research into the history of comic books, Jewish myths and mysticism, Harry Houdini and magic/escape artist illusion, even obscure Antarctic World War II outposts played prominently into the life story of cousins Sammy Clay and Josef Kavalier. And while it sounds like that would make for a really random, convoluted story (a la Christopher Moore's Fluke from far earlier in this experiment), it really doesn't. Everything flows surprisingly well.
Now, there are a few quibbles I have with the book, naturally, and if you're sensitive to language or fairly vivid descriptions of nude women, this book might put you off, but even then it's not really gratuitous. Everything seems to fit in the story. There are portions where I felt the book was too well-written for its own good, which is really an odd comment, and if that's the worst thing I can say about a book you know you're dealing with some choice fiction.
Of course, you really don't need my opinions to validate Kavalier and Clay. There are dozens of far more qualified voices who have already gone on and on about Mr. Chabon's "magnum opus." (Or so says the 2007 New York Review of Books)
I think I mentioned earlier that I was reading James Bond novels as a sort of research for a story I want to write. I finally picked up Casino Royale via Interlibrary Loan, so I'm getting started there. It's only 198 pages, and I got through Moonraker pretty quickly, so I should be through it fairly quickly. All I know for sure about Casino Royale is that the movie was pretty good. And if that doesn't make the book a sure thing, then I don't know what does! ;-)
Soon, moving back to finish up 100 Years of Solitude.