Girl Reading by Katie Ward is another 2012 “TV Book Club” pick. As often is the case, I saw the episode before I read the book.
The premise is that this novel is really a series of short stories based on artwork featuring women’s reading. Each chapter is one standalone story with characters and often incorporating the creator or artist.
There are almost no quotation marks in this novel. The dialogue is written without them. I’ve read other books that employs this literally technique, notably Jose Saramago. It’s not my favourite thing in the world, but generally the books I read can get away with it because the editors realize the authors are decent enough otherwise to not employ them. Still, I generally won’t recommend a book such as this to everyone because that kind of technique can be warying to most readers if they are not use to it or have the patience for it.
The stories are all very different, but they all feature female characters. I found it was easy to be involved and interested in the characters; the author gave a good sense of them in less than 50 pages. There’s an element of art history in this along the lines of Girl with a pearl earring, and I would recommend it to be people who enjoy art, history, and female literature. I liked almost all the stories except the one taking place in 1914. I didn’t really care for any of the characters in that and it seemed even more aimless than the others.
Aside from that, I liked this book. If you have read it, I’d like to know your thoughts.
Read April 2nd-3rd, 2012.
Here is a snippet from the segment on “TV Book Club” featuring the author as well: