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Book 40 Completed

July 7, 2010

Halfway there. On July 7th.

A handful of books away from exceeding last year’s book total.

That is a pretty incredible milestone, if I do say so myself. (Didn’t I say I wanted to throw a party? I should throw a party!) Matt and I might hit the road tomorrow morning to head to the beach — our go-to location for anytime Portland has any semblance of a heat-wave. Last year, when temperatures soared to 105+, I packed up my baby, my dog, left Matt behind and go to the beach as fast as possible. I want to read by the ocean — I want to cuddle up in Bella Espresso with my laptop. I’m excited.

So, all in all, this is turning out to be a fantastic week.

To top it all off: I really liked this book. A Woman in Jerusalem by A.B. Yehoshua was a good little find.

It’s a surreal story — made even more strange because none of the characters (the dead woman excluded) have names. They are referred to by their occupation. Or, in the case of the journalist, as just “The Weasel.” I thought at first that I would get annoyed by all the pronoun usage and the creative ways to identify multiple characters of the same gender in a scene. (What “he” are we talking about now?) But I didn’t. It was seamless. And…powerful. I could TOTALLY be imagining this, but I felt like I had a firmer grasp of their characterization without names than I would of had they been given names. It makes sense: In real life, if you know someone’s name, then that name becomes defining — if you don’t know someone’s name, then you have to use other ways to paint a picture of them — short/tall, beautiful/plain, quiet/outspoken. Define me with saying “Shelbi” and you have a: That short, loud, girl who likes to read with the annoying laugh. I digress…

More than that, this book is just plain readable. There’s some repetition in the middle, points where I kept thinking, “Okay — there’s a lot left to this book. Get on with it.” But the last third is exquisite.

The book deals deftly with issues of atonement and guilt — I also think it speaks to that human fear of our own mortality and “will anyone care or remember us when we die?” I found the main character sympathetic and real; which is quite a feat for a book that walks a line between realism and a strange dreamlike quality. The entire book also feels, to me, like a Cohen Brothers movie. Classic Cohen Brothers. A black comedy, with fast-talking-smart people, events that don’t seem so far out of the realm of possibility, even though they border on bizarre. I think they’re missing something if they don’t entertain the idea of making this into one of their movies. Just offering that up.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Jessica permalink
    July 7, 2010 1:49 pm

    Congrats on being halfway done! You amaze me every day, Shelbi!!!

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