I did not experience this.
Not that I was expecting to, because it'll take a more powerful force than mere hormones to fire up the likes of me with the desire to cook and clean. But in the last month of my pregnancy, I did read up the proverbial storm, and if that was hormonally induced, then I say "Bring on more hormones!"
Without further ado (oh hell, maybe a little further ado), here are some of the most recent books I've finished. And I must say, they've been winners. You could do much worse than pick up any of these titles:
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (#15)
It is difficult to understand how any one could find this perversion entertaining... Total Perversion. Don't let the kids watch it.Sweet! Another reviewer described it as "lesbian Victoriana". Whee! If that isn't enough to make you rush out and get your hands on this novel, it also came highly recommended by several people whose opinions I respect. I liked it, too.
~ Amazon.com customer review
Fingersmith is actually two stories: Sue Trinder is an orphan raised on the hearth of the thieving community of London. Maud Lilly, also an orphan, is a sheltered naif raised in Nowheresville, England. Their paths -- and narratives -- cross when Sue is recruited by a gentleman con artist (who goes by the handle "Gentleman", natch) to dupe Maud out of her fortune. And then the plot goes sideways and gets all twisty.
You can't throw a rock on the internet without reading about Waters's indebtedness to Charles Dickens, and I see the basis for the comparison, but this novel could only have been written now. While it has all the plot convolutions of a novel by Dickens or Wilkie Collins, its social critique takes direct aim at the status and sexuality of women. At times, the melodrama got a bit too heavyhanded for me, but that didn't stop me from being utterly glued to the novel for the last hundred or so pages.
So in a nutshell: Dickensian, perverse, melodramatic, lesbian Victoriana. With a social message.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (#16)
I like to tell people that novels written in the first person by characters with mental disabilities (handicaps? Different abilities? My lexicon is out of date) should be a recognized genre. But then when the people I say this to ask me to cite examples, I can only name two: this one and Jonathan Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn.
I actually read The Curious Incident when it first came out. But then I lost it for several months, believing that I'd loaned it out and forgetting to whom and secretly cursing all my friends. And then I got all obsessed with it, which made me want to re-read it, of course, leading me to curse my friends even more.
And then I, er, found it amidst a stack of books while doing a mini purge of my book collection (and that's a long story for another day). And then I re-read it in an evening. I even got Acquilad to read it (and you know how he is) through a simple tactic called emotional blackmail; I told him that if he didn't love this book, he couldn't claim to know me, since I am, in fact, soul sister to the main character, Christopher, a 15-year-old autistic boy.
Just a few of the things Christopher and I have in common:
- we both love dogs, rats and orangutans
- we like math
- we hate crowds
- we hate loud noises
- we like schedules
- we can concentrate on things for very long periods of time
- we like to make lists
A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews (#17)
Interestingly, I picked this up after reading A Curious Incident, and there are some nifty parallels between the two books. While the latter is a coming-of-age story narrated by a teenaged autistic boy in England, A Complicated Kindness is a coming-of-age story narrated by a teenaged Mennonite girl in Manitoba.
Going to university in southern Ontario, I became good friends with several Mennonites. Not regular Mennos, though. These guys drank, danced, and drove cars... hence their self-imposed label: "the wayward Mennonites". They were (and are) a charming, smart, well-adjusted bunch who are a rare combination of good fun and extremely moral. But something that never occurred to me during my friendship with these guys was just that: they were all guys.
I've never been close to a Menno girl (or woman, if you must), and Toews's novel gave me a glimmering of understanding of just how shitty it can be to be a wayward female Mennonite. As charming and personable as my wayward Menno boys were, I'm now coming to realize that the male-dominated hierarchy in which they were raised permitted these so-called excesses with the catch-all excuse that "boys will be boys". I can only imagine how hard it must be for a sensitive, rebellious, intelligent, adventurous young woman to be true to herself in this environment.
This is the situation in which Nomi, the main character of A Complicated Kindness, finds herself. Smart, rebellious and funny, she's trapped in a small town, tied to her well-meaning but weak-willed father by love and guilt after they're abandoned by Nomi's mother and sister.
I liked this book much more than I expected to. I expected it to make obvious, heavyhanded, anti-religious statements, but in fact it's much more subtle and sensitive than that, while at the same time being extremely honest, unpretentious and, believe it or not, funny. I strongly recommend it.
Whew. That's all for today, kids. Enough about me. What are you reading these days?