A quick, fast-paced read, this time set over the course of one day in Washington D.C. The best review I read was on Powells.com - check that to see Brown's formula.
While I agree with the critics, I can't say that his pattern is distasteful to me, rather it is the very definition of what I look for in a mindless, quick read, and that is what I was in the mood for! A personal connection that made me laugh - any time I've been asked what my strengths are, I always say that I can create order from chaos. Maybe I should become a Mason.... Ordo ab chao.
91. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (325 pgs)
My basic problem with this books is that I just don't understand why anyone would ever want to portray themselves as less intelligent than they are. Why not surprise people and spend your energy elsewhere? But that is the motivation of the two main characters in this book - a 54 year old concierge in Paris, who doesn't want the people living in the apartments to think she has "airs," and a 12 year old who dumbs herself down in intentional ways but criticizes her sister for doing the same.
I hated the ending. I think it was a cop-out. I really enjoyed the character of the Japanese businessman, and his relationship both with Renee and Paloma.
92. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (434 pgs)
Since Oryx and Crake was one of my favorite Atwood novels, I was happy to read another book intertwined with that world and characters. This one focuses more on the religion of a group called The Gardeners, who are planning for the waterless flood.
"Nothing wrecks your nails like a lethal pandemic plague."
93. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (405 pgs)
I read this on my way to and from New Orleans, perfect because it is set there. Hilarious, quick read. The characters are so unlikable that it is easy to grow quite fond of them before they are done making a royal mess of their lives.
94. Balthazar by Lawrence Durrell (250 pgs)
This is the second book in Durrell's Alexandria Quartet, and I can't imagine reading it without reading Justine first. Even having read Justine not too long ago, I kept feeling a need to go back and re-read to try to fit Balthazar into the context of the first novel. Interesting, new angles and information, and a demonstration of how perspective changes a story!
95. The Tent by Margaret Atwood (158 pgs)
Pieces of super short fiction. Not very memorable as far as Atwood goes, but I felt like I saw sparks of the author in there.
96. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham (246 pgs)
I know this is supposed to be a novel about love, redemption, and growth, but to me it was a case study on how choices for women were severely limited. It really just made me angry, not to mention the racist depiction of every Chinese character. I'd skip it.
97. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (876 pgs)
Technically a re-read, for the Sword and Laser Book Club. Epic, feminist, old-religions retelling of Arthurian legend.