Monday, December 29, 2008

Reading frenzy

I appreciate all the suggestions I got for mystery writers to check out. I'm also grateful that we have not one but two sources of used books in our fair city.

Three, if you count Melanie, the leader of our writing group, who has started a book exchange within the group. So far, I'm not sure any of her books have gone beyond me, but c'est la vie!

My mother gave me this tome (734 pages, counting the acknowledgments) as a Christmas gift. I read the entire book over the weekend. It was that engrossing.

The name of this novel is The Hour I First Believed, and it was written by Wally Lamb.

I'm not usually a big fan of "slice of life" type books - this was more of a chunk, though - or books in which a whole lot of bad and/or miserable things happen to the main character. And man, this book has a lot of bad and/or miserable things, including horrors of the Civil War, Columbine High School and Hurricane Katrina.

But the characters were so wonderfully written that I still was thinking about them at 2:15 a.m. today, 15 minutes after I closed the book on the 734th page and should have been snoozing away.

Back and forth the story went, unwinding this man's present, his past and his future. (This explains the Civil War bit.)

Wow. Now I have to run to one or both of our book stores that sell used books to see if I can find his other novels, She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True. I'm already intrigued, since one of my favorite Guess Who songs is "She's Come Undone," and "I know this much is true" are lyrics from a Spandau Ballet song in the 80s.

This title, I have come to understand, is a line from "Amazing Grace."


Michelle said...

I am reading The Hour I First Believed Now, also given to me as a Christmas gift.

Lamb's other two novels are phenomenal - you won't be disappointed!


Gillian Swart said...

Thanks, Michelle. I picked up "She's Come Undone" (used) at Jabberwocky the other day. I have to say, I was kind of disappointed in how similar the underlying themes in 2 books are - not to mention using the same plot devices. But,that's the hazard, in some cases, of reading 2 books by the same author back-to-back! I was once bedridden and read a whole bunch of Dick Francis books in a row; and had a similar reaction. He does draw his characters very well, though, so I still enjoyed it.