Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This is where I leave you- Tropper (Book #74)

I was afraid this book would be bulky and heavy like Jonathon Franzen's The Corrections but this was instead a well-written funny book about family. Judd, the main character is in the middle of a divorce and his father died. He is at his childhood home with siblings he rarely sees and with whom he has much built up resentment. This sounds like really heavy duty stuff, and it is but its told so well that you end up feeling uplifted in every way. I plan to read many more of this author's work!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Blue Notebook- Levine (Book #73)

This is a haunting and disturbing novel written from the perspective of a young girl in India sold into prostitution. The author is a white male from the U.S. but reading it you can't believe anyone but the 15 year old Batuk is telling her story. Through her journal we learn how she was sold into slavery at the age of 9 by her father and we travel with her through the nine years of slavery she endured. The scenes towards the end get very ambiguous and I wish I knew more about what happened in the ending sequences but wow was it a gruesome horrific situation. I hope I can get the image out of my mind. Levine writes beautifully and heartbreakingly. All royalties the author gets from the US he is donating to the center for missing and exploited children.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Weight of Silence- Gudenkauf (Book # 72)

I saw this book at Borders and felt intrigued by the title and the cover page. As I stood there a salesperson approached me and said this book was flying off the shelf like hotcakes. I assume this is a very good thing so I did what most people would do, I requested it from the library. This is a very easy read about a girl named Callie, a selective mute who has not spoken since the age of 4. She lives wit her mother, brother Ben, and an abusive alcoholic father, Griff. The story shows her being led into the woods by her father on a drunken angry rampage, and then we see that she does not come back. Neither does her neighbor's daughter and best friend Petra. The story focuses on what happened to each of these children told from each persons point of view. I enjoyed this suspenseful tale very much.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Olive Kitteridge-Strout (Book #71)

I've heard so much buzz about this book I couldn't resist picking it up. The book is a series of thirteen short stories of a town called Crosby, Maine. Each story focuses on different characters though Olive somehow is present in each scene. I normally don't like short-stories because I find the endings too vague and unsatisfying but I did not feel that with this book. Olive is a very complicated woman and Strout does a good job with her. For the most part she is a difficult woman, particularly when the stories are not told from her point of view. But when we see her eyes on a situation I kind of get it, even when she's destroying her daughter-in-laws clothing, or being cruel in the words she uses. Overall, I enjoyed this collection of stories and it has left me thinking about other difficult people in my lives. I wonder, like Olive, are they completely incapabable of changign or understanding how they come across? It helps me at least with a degree of empathy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Juliet, Naked- Hornby (Book #70)

Hornby is another favorite author of mine so it was fun to move from Russo's novel to this one. I would certainly say that this novel was not my favorite of Hornby's. This is a story told from a girl's perspective, Annie. She is 39 years old in a dead end relationship to a man obsessed with a reclusive ex-rocker Tucker Crowe. The story winds together her boyfriend, Tucker Crowe and her increasing longing for more than there is in the yesteryear seaside town she lives in. Hornby writes well so the story reads nice but I was disappointed by the plot and more so by the conclusion. Still, not all bad as it is Hornby after all.

That Old Cape Magic- Russo (Book #69)

Russo is one of my favorite authors even though the more you read his books the more you see such common themes you begin wondering how much of his fiction is from his real life. I enjoyed this book because Russo can write about anything and make it enjoyable. The story is about a man going to the Cape to attend his daughter's friend's wedding. The Cape is where his parents vacationed with him each year and visiting it now, 30 years later brings with his father's ashes to scatter, and a wife who is growing increasingly annoyed with him brings back strong memories of the past and his childhood. Russo has a way with bringing characters to life so I enjoyed the story though it was certainly not one of my favorites.