2006 Books 51 - 55

51.Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse - What a remarkable book! To say that it's about an artist's journey to understanding himself is a gross understatement, to say it's about a friendship of souls isn't enough, and to say that it's a parable of the spiritual vs. the physical doesn't cover it either. I really enjoyed this book, and I look forward to reading it again, because I'm sure I'm only "getting" a small part of it.

52. Rocket Science by Jay Lake - Fun science fiction set in post WWII Kansas. This story reminds me of X-Files when it was at it's best - when it had a sense of humor.

53. Moe's Villa and Other Stories by James Purdy - This has been my "fill-in" book for the last month, the book I read when I've ran out of other books or don't have time to start a new book. That I was able to stop reading it whenever something different came along tells that there wasn't much to engage me in the collection. It's Purdy's most recently published, and all through it, I was wondering if his reputation stopped his editor from doing their job. I still think Purdy at his worst is better than a LOT of what gets published today, but it's sad when a favorite writer doesn't quite hit the mark.

54. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards - I lost track of how many times I cried while reading this book. It's about loss and recovery, and that the latter doesn't negate the first.

55. You Are Not A Stranger Here by Adam Haslett - All of the stories in this collection deal with characters that are suffering emotionally. Sometimes, it is because of psychosis - in The Volunteer a woman who's break with reality occurred during the birth and death of her only child is befriended by a young man going through first love while his family fails to deal with it's own mental illness. Sometimes it is grief - in The Beginnings of Grief a young man masks the pain of the death of his parents by subjecting himself to abuse from an equally troubled fellow student; and several of the stories have persons suffering from bipolar disorder at the center. I'm not sure what Adam Haslett's background is, but he sure knows his stuff when it comes to pain.

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