Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Wordy Shipmates The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell

Suggestion, nay an exhortation, get this book as an audio book! Listening to Sarah Vowell read her work on the early American Puritans is a wonderful experience. Yes, there is a LOT of information, but I found that listening allowed me to absorb a great deal more of the material than I think I would have had I read the print version. Vowell uses guest readers to voice direct quotations, making this armchair history fun to listen to. Part history, part social commentary, all quirky and as delicious as that first thanksgiving dinner. Thanks Wampanoag people. The venison was great. You'll have to share the recipe.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Still Alice Still Alice by Lisa Genova

There are so many adjectives I want to use to describe this novel: beautiful, heart-wrenching, indicting, comforting. Lisa Genova's story of a Harvard professor of Cognitive Psychology's journey down Alzheimer's wandering path is all of those things. Told from the professor's point of view, the story gives the reader a glimpse into what it might be like to lose and gain who you are, all at the same time. I think the thing I found most striking about Still Alice was the use of perspective in the telling of this sad, sad story. Beautifully crafted. I highly recommend this book.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Scars and Stilettos Scars and Stilettos by Harmony Dust

Harmony's story of perseverance through an extraordinarily difficult early childhood and adolescence was not easy. Her story telling style was comfortable and practiced, as if she had told her story a million times. Stylistically, this wasn't a difficult book to read. What made it so difficult, for me, was the reality that her story was not an isolated one; that for every one of Harmony, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of women trapped in the adult entertainment industry. Her transformation and desire to help other women was inspiring. Her story, eye-opening. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone interested in social justice in the darkest corners of our own culture.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Home Safe: A Novel Home Safe: A Novel by Elizabeth Berg
Elizabeth Berg's books tend to be those I refer to as "brain resting" books. Not to say that the characters aren't real or developed nicely, or even that I do not enjoy reading them, it's just that reading them is a whole lot like wearing that pair of pajama pants that are definitely not for public viewing. Her books are comfortable and cozy and not at all surprising in any way. Sometimes a girl needs a book like that. In Home Safe: A Novel , I felt so often that Berg is becoming more and more autobiographical in her character development. There was a time in this book where the main character is asked during a question/answer session to give the audience a bit of knowledge that perhaps they wouldn't already know about her. She answers saying that if they have read her work, they already know all about her because who she is a part of every book she writes. Somehow I felt as if Berg was making that statement herself. It made me wonder how much of the character creating process is a self-examination of sorts. Do authors of fiction use this to discover themselves or to explore sides of their own personalities that may not be fit for their everyday lives?

Friday, January 01, 2010

Firefly Lane Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

I'm sure if this author had a profile on Facebook, Beaches would be her all time favorite movie, since the plot of this novel was pretty much just lifted from that movie. Only the excessive details are different. Firefly Lane is the kind of book you would want with you on a beach with a blended drink . . . lots of blended drinks.