Monday, June 12, 2006


I finished reading White Teeth by Zadie Smith a while ago (long enough ago that I have finished another book and started a new one). It's a wonderful debut by a major new voice in literature. Getting into the book wasn't easy -- it is very dense -- but Smith is so funny and fresh, I really wanted to keep going. Eventually I was hooked. Two of the most important factors in novels for me are dialogue and endings; the book can have a compelling story and great characters, but if the author screws up the dialogue or the ending, it's all over for me. Smith's story took some time getting started, the characters took awhile to get to know and like, but the language was usually spot on (one family introduced mid-novel rings a bit tinny) and the ending was as close to perfect as there is.

I also finished Anne Lamott's Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. This is a collection of essays on using her (very progressive) Christian faith to survive parenting a teenager, aging, grief and the Bush administration. Read Traveling Mercies first, so you have an idea of how she got to where she is.

And I've started Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation. Most excellent.

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