I've finished a couple of books lately, so it's time for a recap. Mmmm ... or a grande decaf marble cap(puccino). I had one of those recently, and it was some good.
In the absence of caffeine, I shall stick to the book news. The first one I mentioned was Eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I was very enamoured of the book when I first blogged it, back in the part that takes place in Italy (part two is India, part three is Bali). Italy was full of beautiful places, glorious food, good conversation, interesting people, and coming to appreciate all those things. Elizabeth loves the Italian language, and that came through in her writing. She not only experienced entertaining things, but had interesting information to share about Italian history, language, food and customs. The first part of her book was entertaining, and thoroughly enjoyable. My sister recently picked up a second hand copy, and I'm sure we will both be rereading this portion of the book many times.
I would say that I also enjoyed the bit in India. From the restaurants and cafes of Italy to an ashram in India is a mighty big lifestyle change. You would think that the two together don't make sense, as part of one person's journey toward healing and an intimate encounter with God. When you read Elizabeth's story, though, it was the right approach. She first had to learn to experience and appreciate la dolce vita - a life free of stress and worry, depression and anxiety. She learned to be gentle with herself, to enjoy life for its own sake. Then she was ready for the spiritual rigor offered at the ashram. Her storytelling continues apace in this section, and she offers personal struggles and insights which make for interesting reading. Not to mention some of the global cast of characters who have landed in India seeking enlightenment!
Bali is where I fell off the EPL bandwagon. I didn't leap off and run down the road in the opposite direction. I just hopped off without causing a scene, and intend to catch her next book when I can, to see if I'll hop back on again. She began the year with a purpose and she wrote about it with honest and personal generosity. I felt there was a lack of focus once she got to Bali. Once we got that far, I wasn't on the edge of my seat anymore. The story became less about her and what she intended to accomplish and more about Bali and the people there, as well as a generic tale of girl-meets-boy but they live on opposite sides of the world so how can it ever work out?
The ending fell flat, but I find myself still wanting to reread the bits about Italy. For that - the beauty of Italy and all things Italian - as well as her wonderfully deft way with words, I would recommend this book.
Another book I've mentioned along the way is The Timepiece by Richard Paul Evans. This was another book I liked a lot when I first dove in, but I'm sorry to say, it didn't live up to my expectations. The main storyline was overwrought and far too sentimental. It was bookended by a secondary story with characters who were supposed to be connected to the main plot, but I couldn't figure out how. Not to mention the bits from the fly leaf that had me over the moon, about how it is in the darkest skies that the stars shine brightest, and how hope has the power to heal were not evident in the tale itself. With his tone (not to mention the wonderful bit on the fly leaf) Evans set this up as being a powerful, hopeful bit of inspiration, but I'm left wondering if maybe the copy I had from the library was missing the rest of the story. Too bad.
As part of my Schmapter's Christmas gift card purchase, I bought a copy of the Sense and sensibility screenplay, with Emma Thompson's diary included. As an added bonus, it also has her Golden Globe speech, in which she accepted the award for best adapted screenplay, speaking in the language of Jane Austen. Absolute brilliance, that was. It is interesting to see a movie laid out on the page, to discover just how bare is the information given, and how much of what we see on the screen comes from the cast and crew. Plus, to see into the filming through Emma's diary brings the process to life. She is a very funny woman, and there were many parts I had to read out loud to whoever happened to be in the room.
And so, I am once more between books. I've currently got Carrie Fisher's Delusions of Grandma on the go, and like her other books (Postcards from the edge; Surrender the pink) it has me chuckling. It's a good in-betweener. I'm open to suggestions, so if you've read anything riveting or even mildly interesting in the last while, do drop me a line and let me know.