Reading for Me

The Books I Have Read…..Just for Me

#8: The City and the Pillar (Gore Vidal)

Now that I’ve finished the book, I’m still wondering what the title refers to!  That level of confusion seems to be the norm when reading Vidal’s novel.

The City and the Pillar was published in 1948 and resulted in Vidal being blacklisted in many literary circles. The novel follows the sexual discovery of Jim, a young man whose first sexual encounter is with his friend, Bob. The story follows Jim’s pursuit of other men in an effort to fill the void left by Bob’s departure.

The book, often called crass and vulgar by its early reviewers, was not explicit in its sexual scenes until the final encounter between Jim and Bob.  However, the novel lacked much development of its central plot.  This was a case of coming across an author I recognized and knew I wanted to say that I had read some of his work.  By the time I was certain the writing did not measure up to Vidal’s reputation, I was over halfway through the book.  I can now say I’ve read Vidal…..and don’t plan to do it again!

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#7: Still Life with Bread Crumbs (Anna Quindlen)

A very busy spring semester brought my reading life to a complete halt.  As soon as one of the schools began finals, I made a much-needed trip to the library and came home with an armload of books.

The first book of the summer was Still Life with Bread Crumbs. The novel tells the story of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose career seems to be waning. As financial problems mount, Rebecca sublets her NYC apartment and moves into a tiny cabin in the country.  While hiking through the woods, the photographer encounters a series of white crosses that will ultimately become the basis of her next set of prints.  What initially appear to be randomly placed grave markers prove to be linked to a single story that impacts Rebecca’s world directly.

Laced with charming characters, exquisitely described locations, and an honest examination of contemporary success, Still Life is another wonderful novel from Quindlen that is certain to please her loyal fans.

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