You know the drill. Here’s the rundown of August’s books.

  • The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters: I’ve been working my way through all of Sarah Waters’s books after being blown away by her The Little Stranger. This one, however, didn’t hit the same high mark for me. It seemed overlong and had trouble sustaining the story’s momentum until the end. But it’s deeply felt and delicately detailed, still a fine slice of historical fiction.
  • Laura, Vera Caspary: The relatively faithful film adaptation of this book seems to have eclipsed the book itself, at least as far as my own experience and perception is concerned, so it was an interesting experiment to read the source material finally. And I believe I prefer it. Laura the novel fleshes out the problematic nuances around the various male characters and their relationships with the titular character better than Laura the film does. Although I still hold the opinion Laura needs to give all these men a break.
  • Mad Girl’s Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted, Andrew Wilson: This summer I sat by the edge of the lake and read about young Sylvia Plath. I’m going through a bit of a personal Plath renaissance right now, and this biography of her early years is rather essential. It’s telling that no one thought to research and write about her life indepdendent of Ted Hughes until now, but both she and we deserve it.
  • The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin: This is one of those books I can’t believe I never read until now. A clever, quirky mystery tale constructed like a puzzle with unusual characters, arch narration and a sweet heart.

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