Tuesday, November 06, 2007

life of pi

Wow. Not sure what else to say. Incredible on many levels. The story. The writing. What's in between the lines. Don't want to say too much, as I think it's better left a mystery. Loved it.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Hm, what to say about this one. I liked it, and I didn't like that I liked it. It was loaded with interesting facts about King Henry VIII's court. But the characters often read like inhabitants of the latest LA soap opera. I think I agree with Emily - it's like a romance novel with some historical facts stuck in. But it was really well-researched. I might read another.

Monday, July 16, 2007


So, there is a pretty cool site called goodreads.com (I'm pretty sure about the .com part.) I haven't actually used it yet, but some of you have...you have friends, like on friendster or flickr or netflix, and you can rate books etc...

Monday, July 02, 2007

Bel Canto

One of the loveliest books I've read in a while. It's about a hostage situation in an unspecified country (but it's pretty obviously Colombia). I put off reading it for a long time because I thought it would be ugly or harsh or hard to read. Surprisingly, it's uplifting, even funny at times. Amazing.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical Theater - Marc Acito

This one is full of wacky fun. It's all in the title. It made me laugh out loud lots, even on the bus.

The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad

A journalist's (and a woman's) account of living with an Afghani family for a year just after the fall of the Taliban. I'd wondered what a woman's life is like in a society where women have few freedoms and fewer privileges. Eye-opening. She also gives some glimpses into what Afghanistan was like in the 60's - glorious. It's a heartwrenching and sobering read, but well worth it.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

A graphic novel about what it was like to grow up in Iran in the 70's, during the transition from the Shahs to the Islamic fundamentalists. Personal. Political. Wonderful.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

A book mystery set in Barcelona. Incredibly atmospheric. Great characters. I read this a long time ago, so that's all I can think to say about it, but it stayed on my mind for months.

The Labyrinth by Kate Mosse

A tale of suspense and intrigue set in the south of France. The narration swaps back and forth between the middle ages and the present day. It's well-paced and well-plotted, and full of interesting details about daily life in Carcassonne in 1200. Don't pick it up unless you can afford to stay up late into the night finishing it.

The Mapmaker's Wife by Robert Whitaker

In the mid-1700's a French scientific expedition sets out for the Amazon, intending to measure the size of a degree of longitude at the equator and settle a debate about the shape of the Earth. They stay for more than a decade, and some of them get more than they bargained for.
One of the expedition members marries a Peruvian woman. They are separated for decades, and she undertakes an amazing journey so that they can be reunited.
It's full of interesting details about life in the South American colonies, political intrigue, oldskool science, and big snakes. Especially interesting if you're planning to travel to Ecuador (like some folks I know) and will get to visit many of the measurement sites.
PS, don't confuse the author with Roger Whittaker. Different guy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Place Where the Sea Remembers - Sandra Benitez

Beautiful vignettes woven together to tell the stories of a small fishing town in Mexico. More than one made me cry.

Dreaming in Cuban - Christina Garcia

Beautiful, my favorite book in a while. Story of different generations of women in one family - some in Cuba, some in U.S. Shows different perspectives on Cuba in a refreshing manner.

Skinny Legs and All...Tom Robbins

A fun, and even somewhat educational adventure. I love his writing, as always. I think I liked Jitterbug Perfume better.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

I love a book that sucks me into the stories of others, to the minds of others, to a different world, and that is exactly what this book has done. The writing is original, funny, creative – I found myself laughing aloud and crying inside. Jonathan Safran Foer has done a remarkable job of placing his reader in a historical time (shtetls, the holocaust, present day Ukraine) that is blended with the stories he creates to surround it. The narrator’s voice and character combine to draw us into the story, create ongoing suspense, as we only hope that he will also lead us to an end of some sort. There is history, sex, love, loss, fantasy, philosophy - all tied into one. Read it!

The Farming of the Bones by Edwidge Danticat

Once again, I have found myself inside the head of a young girl in Haiti. I remember liking Breath, Eyes, Memory. I liked Krik! Krak!. This one, perhaps due to the setting within the war and events of 1937, placed me in another place and another time. In someone else’s shoes maybe. It even pushed me to research more history on Haiti. I am impressed with Danticat’s ability to place the reader inside the head of her protagonist, to experience all through the lens of just one young girl. I worried, I wept, I smiled, I embraced the messed up world around us. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in history, Haiti, genocide, coming of age, love, or, even just a strong story. Going in, you don’t have to know the history to experience Amabelle’s world, but you want to know more and more so that you can understand it better.

Homer's Odyssey

Surprisingly captivating. Hadn’t read it since high school and only found myself reading it because I must teach it later this semester. I found myself fascinated by the language, the story, the turns of events. I felt no attachment to Odysseus, simply wanted to know what the outcome of each encounter would be. It’s the phenomenal writing that drew me in. Go Homer.