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.