August 03, 2010
Novels Read Lately
Posted by David Zaring

As our readership prepares to takes its Lear Jet to the beach, perhaps a recommendation about what to read is in order?  One of my favorite authors, Gary Shteyngart, has something new out, and here he is on Fresh Air, if you missed him last night.  Here's the trailer to his Super Sad Love Story, which I eagerly await.

  • Classy: The Elegance of the Hedgehog, written in French, has sold a million copies, which is almost exactly a million copies more than your average trade paperback sells.  I was confused as to why.  It's dense, philosophical, and features two characters who spend most of the book not liking anybody, including themselves.  It ends beautifully, but should you go through the effort to get there?  Your better Eurobrainy bet is Out Stealing Horses.
  • Hoi Polloi:  David Nicholls just published One Day, Anne Hathaway will play the lead female, and it's surprisingly like The Elegance of the Hedgehog, only with likable characters and witty dialogue.  Sure, the plot is a little gimmicky (each chapter is the July 15 of every year they meet).  I'm now reading The Understudy, also by him, the dialogue's just as witty, but the action takes a while to get going.  If you like to wander abroad with your mysteries, you should start with Boris Akunin, but Vish Puri is a pretty fun trip through Punjabi Delhi.  And I managed to finish the Millenium trilogy on a long plane flight (having started it a few plane flights earlier), not totally sure I get all the fuss, but hey, it held me through 2000 pages, and that's saying something.

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