ShareReads appears on the DCPLive blog on Fridays. Each week, a different person will share a little about what they’re currently reading, and why they like or don’t like it. The heart of ShareReads will be responses from blog readers, and the window of opportunity here is wide. Feel free to respond and discuss the book or author being mentioned, ask or answer a question, or even take the conversation in a different direction: mention what you are currently reading, and how you feel about it. The point of ShareReads is to have an ongoing discussion about books and reading. Remember: posting a response also counts as an activity for the Summer Reading for Adults program.
I seem to have this thing about first novels. I read lots of them, often without realizing until I’m into them that they are indeed debuts. That’s been the case recently in my reading life.
Last week I finished Blind Sight by Meg Howrey. This is the story of a seventeen year old boy named Luke, who was raised by his mom and grandmother, both of whom are very spiritual from different perspectives. During the course of the novel, he makes various attempts at a college entrance essay while he visits his famous father in Los Angeles. Having grown up in the east in a very unassuming environment, Luke is immersed in the show business world, and the demands it makes of the father he is just beginning to get to know.
I really enjoyed this one for the most part. I’m drawn to characterization and plot, and this novel satisfies on both those counts. Luke is (for the most part) grounded, mature and very insightful, though he makes his mistakes along the way. The novel is written in a curious mix of first and third person, but this enhanced the novel for me; it caused me to care more about Luke as I began to prefer hearing him speak in his own voice.
The other major players in Luke’s life, his mom and grandmother, his two sisters and (as the novel progresses) his father are all developed in differing degrees, but none seemed sketchy or undeveloped. Each reader will have to decide whether the ending is conclusive enough; having had a little time to reflect, I’m ok with the author’s choice not to tie up every loose end.
Right on the heels of Blind Sight, I picked up David Abbott’s The Upright Piano Player, which I still haven’t finished. I also have this thing about England, so this appeals to me for the British setting. It’s paced differently, almost like a collage of images. The timeline isn’t straight forward, but unlike some novels which jump from one time period to another, this one isn’t annoying me on that front. The main character in this one is a retired man who is coping with loss on various fronts. The novel opens as he is trying to deal with his grief for his beloved grandson, then shifts to an earlier period when he was more recently retired and divorced, and trying to make sense of the unchartered space ahead of him. This one is sad, but it’s holding my interest so far.
So, are you a first novel fan too? What would you recommend? What’s my next reading fix?