The Visible World by Mark Slouka
The Reader: A rather petite twenty-something blond woman wearing a very tasteful and fashionable combination of white blouse, black skirt, shiney gold flats, and a bright purple leather purse. She was close enough to me on the crowded train, and I am probably a foot taller than her so I could see that she had beige pumps in her Sephora carrier bag.
The Book: “…an evocative, powerfully romantic novel about a son’s attempt to understand his mother’s past, a search that leads him to a tragic love affair and the heroic story of the assassination of a high-ranking Nazi by the Czech resistance.”
The Verdict: This book sounds good to me. But unless someone tells me it is good and I should read it, I don’t think I will make the effort to get my hands on a copy of it. I mean The Glass Room was such a great Nazi-occupation novel, this one would have to be pretty amazing to not be disappointing.
Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa
The Reader: Slightly pudgy thirty-something guy wearing Dockers and what appeared to be fancy brown bowling shoes. (You know, the goofy looking American kind.) Funny thing about him is that I caught him trying to see the title of my book. I rather nonchalantly made it easy for him to see the cover of my Heart of Darkness.
The Book: An autobiographical novel about an 18-year old student who falls in love with a 32-year old divorcee while working at a radio station that produces a half dozen soap operas a day and buys scripts by weight from writers in Cuba. Set in 1950s Peru.
The Verdict: I am on the fence on this one. Reading a book set in Peru and one about a young scriptwriter kind of pique my interest, but the satirical look at soap operas, not so much.
The Help by Kathryn Sprockett ( x 2!)
The Readers: At the bus stop this morning there was a woman reading a hardcover edition of this novel. Since it is a bestseller, and now a movie, I wasn’t going to write about it. But then after we both got on the bus, another reader got on with a paperback edition. One woman was white, the other African-American. Given the plot I thought that was kind of interesting. I would like to get them together and hear what they have to say about it.
The Book: I don’t really need to explain this one do I?
The Verdict: I tend to not like reading novels that have considerable amounts of any kind of dialect. Not a hard and fast rule, but when I picked this one up last year I wasn’t in the mood for it. I don’t think I will read it.