Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tales of the City ; Armistead Maupin

Tales of the City
By Armistead Maupin

Not the usual stuff that I generally read.  It came across almost like a teen novel / soap opera and I seriously considered dropping it after the first chapter.

But what kept me reading was that it seemed to get at the nature of San Francisco back in the 70's / 80's.  That weird sense of people having extremely limited attention spans, superficialness and moral qualms when it comes to dating/sexuality - well, given my brief experience of living in San Francisco area a few years ago, I could imagine that this could very well have been the environment then and why San Francisco has the personality it does have today .

The novel has a broad range of characters, seemingly introducing a new character every other chapter.  Perhaps with the stretch of the imagination, it could be turned into a soap opera, if it was acceptable for characters to go very non-dramatic, mundane and non-explicit issues (actually googling this, it looks like this and the following books in the series were turned into TV series).  A number of the characters are younger folk, who seem to be serial daters, but never really finding the right long-term partner.  A handful of others are more well-off, but are dissatisfied with their social status party wives.

All in all, I did not really care much for the characters or the writing.  It comes across as very dated and in my eyes, was more informative as a historical observation than a piece of entertainment.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

It's Kind of a Funny Story : Ned Vizzini

It's Kind of a Funny Story
By Ned Vizzini

Really liked this one.  Introspective, and unlike other books with protagonists who have particular mental issues, this comes across as  understanding the true nature of what it is like to be depressed, in particular that curious meta-feeling that one recognizes that they are depressed, but that recognition alone does not solve their depression.

Also enjoyed the apt descriptions of the emotions of being a teenage boy, the sarcasm and the modern culture references.