Mar. 5th, 2011

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Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.
21. The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin.
22. Rebellion at Christiana by Margaret Hope Bacon.
23. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang.

24. This Sweet Sickness by Patricia Highsmith. Highsmith explores romantic obsession in this novel, with the character of David Kelsey, who is so in love with Annabelle that it doesn't matter that she's married someone else; he keeps a house for them both, waiting patiently for what he believes is her inevitable return to him. At the start, his conviction here seems only a bit delusional, but not dramatically worse than that of any other person unwilling to let go of a relationship that they didn't want to end. Part of the reason for this is that Annabelle herself is pretty wishy-washy about the whole thing, giving Kelsey--perhaps unwittingly--little pieces of hope to cling to. When things start to tip it's mostly accidental, but Kelsey gradually falls deeper into a spiral of delusion, fragmented identity, and violence. Thematically this is not that different from some of the Ripley books, although the romantic obsession is a new angle; and yet somehow it still reads as fresh, with a protagonist whose frustration and denial is identifiable despite his actions being abhorrent. This novel is much stronger on character than A Game for the Living was, and it's both sadder and more horrifying as a result.


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April 2011

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