Thursday, January 21st, 2016

retsuko: antique books (books)
Book Rec: All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

This book wasn’t something I thought I’d have the chance to read anytime soon; I have an embargo against new hardcovers (for monetary and spatial reasons), and almost everything that comes out, I can wait for in paperback. This book, though… well, two things happened:

1) I heard good things about it. Really, really good things. It won the Pulitzer, for starters, and it was well reviewed all over the place. People I know and respect were talking about it, and just about every book club has it on the rotation. (You’d think this would trigger my slightly hipster, majorly contrarian instincts, but nope!)

2) I asked when it was coming out in paperback, and the employee at BookStar frowned as she poked at her computer. Since hardcovers usually go to trades in nine months to a year, I figured I’d only have to wait a few months. Not so! The paperback isn’t coming out for a long time (at least another year), a deliberate marketing tactic on Scribner’s part, presumably to sell more hardcovers. (And Scribner, I get it, I really do, but arrrrrggghhhhh, you’re killing me here.)

So a while back, I just caved in and bought the damn thing, because my curiosity got the better of me, and because I was sick of my own hardcover embargo.

And, honestly, I’m very glad I did. I enjoyed this book, even though there were times when it was unrelentingly bleak and sad. This is an accomplished and tremendously character-driven piece of work that stands well against other war-set narratives; it never loses sight of its two protagonists and their journeys, and it privileges their experiences over anything else. Read more! )

May 2016

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