I'm multitasking, as usual, this Sunday afternoon, watching my favorite last place baseball team stink up the home park again and messing around on the internet when the mood strikes. If I were really into this multitasking thing I would pick up one of the four books I'm reading right now.
All four of them, as it turns out, are review copies but they are very different books in style and subject matter. For instance, I'm about halfway through Nina Vida's The Texicans, her 2006 novel about the early days of Texas (1840s) and I'm enjoying it more and more - a great way to read a book. Her central characters are all very ordinary people, no big name heroes involved, most of them, in fact, from near the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. Unless the second half of the book falls flat, and I will be surprised if it does, this one will earn a high rating.
Then there's The Winter Vault, by Canadian author Anne Michaels. This novel tells the story of a Canadian couple working in Egypt to dismantle and reconstruct an ancient temple before it is flooded by the waters of the new Aswan Dam (1964). I'm just over a third of the way through this one and, frankly, I am finding it difficult to get very emotionally invested in the story. The married couple, to this point, are the only main characters and neither of them particularly appeal to me so far. This is one of those relatively long books, 341 pages, without chapter breaks, a characteristic that always bothers me. I find myself looking for natural "breaks" in the narrative and when they don't come, I grow frustrated with having to read longer than I intended. So far, this one has earned about a 3.5 from me but I hope it "clicks" later on. There's still time for that to happen but it's taking me longer to read than I expected it to take because I really don't look forward to picking it up - not a good sign.
I'm about 20% of the way through Emily Listfield's Best Intentions and I'm still not sure what to think about it. The main character, her husband, and a couple of their friends have been well introduced to this point and I find them to be believable. I think there's a murder down the road for one of the main characters but I have no idea what kind of story this will turn out to be. Is it a murder mystery? Or have I stumbled into another bit of Chick Lit? Only time will tell, but I have enjoyed it so far and it's one I look forward to picking up.
Finally, there's Lost Boy by Brent W. Jeffs, his personal story of growing up as part of one of the most prominent families in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. His grandfather and an uncle were, in fact, two prophets of the church. Brent's story is a tragic one involving child abuse, drugs and alcohol, and broken families. It is definitely a story that deserves to be told but its style is more than a little dry despite the fact that Jeffs had the help of writer Maia Szalavitz in putting it together. I'm at least 80% of the way through this one and will have a formal review up sometime in the next few days. I will say now, though, that this insider's look at the sociology of polygamy is eye-opening.