Looking back at my 2008 Reading List, I realize it was a very lean time for literature, so I have resolved during the New Year to better my reading habits, pronto!

  • Sexy by Joyce Carol Oates

January hasn't even ended and I've already read something new! Hooray! Okay, it's a young adult novel, but still, it's Joyce Carol Oates! This is a decent read, a well-executed exploration of teenage male sexuality and the dilemma of responsibility. Interestingly, Oates employs stream-of-consciousness, toggling between her protagonist's thinking and an omniscient point-of-view, and though on occasion her technique threatens to overwhelm the narrative (the confrontation with the principal in particular felt more like literary showmanship than a demonstration of skill), Oates is able to create a very convincing and sympathetic portrait of her lead. Not only does the book dive into Darren's private thoughts but also addresses his personality through the perspectives of his parents, brother, teachers and other students. This is a work of marvelous character development more than anything else.

  • The Sands of Time by Sidney Sheldon
  • The Debutante Divorcee by Plum Sykes
  • Princess Daisy by Judith Krantz

Hmm, what can I say? I've never believed in strict, healthy literary diets so I blitzed through these like a Japanese research vessel harpooning whales for burgers. Yum! My life is now further enriched by nuns getting sexy and ripe classic lines such as:

"You are trash. Trash!" "I know. I love it." (The Debutante Divorcee)

She was dazed, almost paralyzed by the electric flashes of desire which were whipping through her body, when suddenly she returned to reality (Princess Daisy)

He filled his mouth with the delicate rosettes, remembering their pale pinkness, still gently, still tenderly, until she lay back on the pillow giving herself in fresh astonishment to the darts which shot throughout her body from each nipple to her vulva, as if some crucial nerves had been activated, connections she'd never known existed (Princess Daisy)

I must say that Judith Krantz is capable of a suprising turn of phrase here and there and is quite generous with her attention to detail. Sometimes almost too generous. I found myself skipping several pages just to get to the naughty bits, but maybe that's mostly my fault. Like Sidney Sheldon, she knows how to ease the reader into the seemingly alien world of the beautiful, rich, and powerful. What I did not like about the book, however, was that it began with the promise of moral ambivalence and then bifurcated into your friendly neighborhood struggle between good and evil. Disappointing.

The Debutante Divorcee is pure candy. Fun, frivolous, and completely non-threatening. I love it.

The Sands of Time is minor Sidney Sheldon. It lacks the glamour and immersive quality of his best, but I still got my standard Sheldon kicks out of it: intrigue, sexual tension, suspense, and some good old down-to-earth narrative acrobatics. The way Sheldon contorts the plot by whatever means necessary to achieve his intentions is mesmerizing. Be warned, though: Sheldon still does not flinch from dealing with vicious realities, especially since this is set in wartime. Lastly, it needs to be said that the novel does contain one truly beautiful chapter about faith, love, and forgiveness. It's the great masterpiece Sheldon never knew he had written.

  • One Hundred and One Ways by Mako Yoshikawa
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King
  • The House of Nire by Kita Morio
  • Burning Your Boats by Angela Carter
jan 12 2009 ∞
apr 22 2009 +