This week, I’ve cracked open the pages of Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s beautiful book, The Shadow of the Wind. This one has been on my TBR shelf for years, and now I’m reading it along with an old friend. Early in the story, the protagonist uncovers a rare gem in the “book cemetery” — a slender volume titled … The Shadow of the Wind. As he searches for additional copies, he learns that a mysterious figure is destroying the works one by one. I’m a sucker for metafiction, atmospheric details, and beautiful writing, which basically means this book has captured me completely!
The Coast of Utopia by Tom Stoppard:
The Coast of Utopia, a trilogy of plays by Tom Stoppard about a bizarre group of revolutionaries/radicals under the rule of Tsar Nicholas I, is as fun as it sounds. If you think that sentence was ironic, then these plays might not be for you. These plays are pretty sporadic, jumping between years in the 1800s, but (most) of the main characters remain. There’s Michael Bakunin, a guy who jumps from philosophy to philosophy depending on what he last read. He and Alexander Herzen (the first self-proclaimed Socialist in Russia), balance their family lives with running free radical presses and being literary critics. Even though it sounds pretty heavy and I’m probably missing a lot from the philosophical discussions (because I’m very behind on reading philosophy), it’s mixed with some great theatrical slapstick. I’m just hoping I can see all nine hours on stage in one long day.
The Immortalists is about 4 siblings who, after visiting a psychic, know the exact date of each of their deaths from the time they’re children. It’s an interesting look at the meaning of life when you know when you’re going to die. And, even though it’s a story about death, it feels more like a celebration of life and the human condition.