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.