reading list as of february 28th

when i was in middle school, i attempted to read kafka’s the trial. not realizing that it was quite possibly a little much for your average 13 year old, i plowed through about half of it before i gave up, not caring a whit about the main character.

i got the same feeling when i tried to read jenny erpenbeck”s visitation earlier this month. i read about 30 pages and then realized she hadn’t gotten to the point yet. as the novel was only about 150 pages long, that’s kind of a big oof and i returned it to the library.

but i did finish reading these books:

XVI julia karr – nina is about to turn 16, and turning 16 in the future is a very bad thing. being 16 means that you get to have sex, and you get to let everyone know that you get to have sex, by having the roman numeral XVI tattooed on the inside of your wrist. unfortunately, those in the lower tiers are often “assumed” to want to have sex more often. naturally, nina really doesn’t want to be 16. despite repeated references and a sometimes foot-stomping toddler tantrum approach to being a “sexteen”, as they’re called, it’s a thoroughly entertaining and engaging read.

galveston nic pizzolatto – roy cady has been screwed. diagnosed with a terminal lung disease, he figures out his boss wants to off him and he flees new orleans, taking 18 year old rocky with him. rocky, being completed messed up in the head, continually tries to come on to roy and finally gives up, and turns to prostitution to pay the bills. the story jumps back and forth between 1987 and present day, which confused the hell out of me at first. then i skipped ahead and flipped through the last few chapters and figured it out. that said, it was well written, but slightly boring.

a drink before the war dennis lehane – a gang war is about to break out on the streets of boston, and patrick kenzie, PI, and his partner, angie gennaro, are about to get in the middle of it. hired to find a missing cleaning woman by a couple of state politicians, the case goes from being a simple, cherchez la femme to a bloody violent mess, complete with explosions and car chases. kenzie is a smartass, and lehane has a lot of fun with his characters. while i do wish there’d been more about the gang war, i enjoyed this book so much i’ll be picking up the rest of the novels about kenzie and gennaro (of which gone baby gone is one of them).

the october killings wessel ebersohn – in 1986, a raiding party killed a group of south african revolutionaries. 20 years later, a member of that party, leon, approaches the woman who’s life he saved all those years ago, abigail. he fears someone may try to kill him on the anniversary of the raid, october 22. when it turns out that all the other members of the original party have been murdered, one by one, over the last 20 years, abigail thinks leon may be right. searching for the killer, though, could be tough, and she’s running out of time. intriguing, and i love the setting, but i wish the pace were faster.

*images via speak publications, harper publishing

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