Friday, May 1, 2009

Bel Canto

At work we have genre reading assignments. Basically they ask us to read a book from an assigned genre every couple of months. This is a great idea because it exposes us all to a variety of genres and makes us better able to give recommendations to patrons who may not have the same reading preferences as us.

Right now for this assignment I'm reading Bel Canto. I've only just started, but here's what's happened so far. In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. Alas, in the opening sequence, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists storm the party. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home.

I'm really enjoying the author's voice in this book. Sometimes, that's all it takes for me to really love a book. Here's an example regarding some of the younger terrorists who heard the soprano sing while they waited to storm the party:

"When a girl in their village had a pretty voice, one of the old women would say she had swallowed a bird, and this was what they tried to say to themselves as they looked at [her]: she has swallowed a bird. But they knew it wasn't true. In all their ignorance, in all their unworldliness, they knew there had never been such a bird."

*Update for Adam: The genre we have right now is "General Fiction." To me, this is really more an exclusionary category... no historical fiction, nothing that falls under fantasy, sci-fi, romance, or mystery. These books usually deal with people in realistic places and circumstances. Sometimes people come in wanting a no-nonsense book, and since I read mostly fantasy anyway, genre assignments like this are good for me.

1 comment:

Adam said...

You started the post by mentioning that you have to read from different genres. What genre does this book belong to? Did you have a selection of books from this genre to choose from or did you have to read this book?