Monday, September 28, 2009

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

This is the story of a housekeeper who works for a math professor who, due to a brain injury, has only 80 minutes of memory.

I've only read a handful of books in my life that have made me cry at the end, and this is one of them. A tender, sweet story. Highly recommended.

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

This book is about two sisters living the high life in Shanghai until they discover that their father has lost all of the family's money. The father sells his daughters as brides to two brothers living in the US.

This book was just okay - not great, but not really bad either. The story was predictable and a lot of details seemed to be missing. It just seemed flat and lacking something.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Sometimes my reviews are really simple: either "Read this book" or "Don't read this book."

This one is gonna be a simple review: Read this book.

It has some sketchy parts near the end and the title is definitely not gonna get this Content Warning off of my blog, but this book provided one of the most satisfying reading experiences of 2009 for me so far.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Saving Zoe by Alyson Noel

Family Reunion was last weekend. We had our first annual Book Swap. It was a lot of fun! Relatives of all ages brought books that they wanted to trade and we put them all out on a table. People browsed and picked up any books that looked interesting to them.

This is one of the books I picked up. One of my teenage cousins must have brought it since it's in that young adult genre. It's about freshman, Echo, and the year after her sister, Zoe, is brutally murdered. Echo reads through her sister's diary and gains a more complete picture of what led up to Zoe's death. This is a book for all teenage girls to read who think it's cool to meet people online and who post sketchy pictures of themselves. It's not cool. It can actually be quite dangerous.

I read this book in a couple of days. It reads like a mystery since you don't really know what happened to Zoe until the very end.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo

When I found out that Richard Russo had a new book out, I immediately went online to reserve it at the library. I had to wait a couple of weeks and when I received an email notification saying that it was ready for pick-up, I went to the library that morning to check it out.

I finished reading the book about 36 hours later.

It was almost excellent. Rich in detail, believable characters, and a very good story, but the ending was a bit weak. However, it was still a very enjoyable reading experience, one that ended too soon.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Shooting Star by Wallace Stegner

Back in September 2007, I was on a Wallace Stegner kick and read a bunch of his books. A couple of weeks ago, I re-visited Stegner and found one that I hadn't read yet.

I wished I hadn't read it. But no, I read every single of the 433 pages...alas, not one of my best decisions as of late.

With good books, I don't want it to end. With this book, I could not wait for it to end. It was bad. I disliked the main character throughout the whole book.

Don't read this book.

If you want to read some Wallace Stegner, here are some that I've already reviewed and would recommend (read Angle of Repose!).

Finding the Love of Your Life: Ten Principles For Choosing the Right Marriage Partner by Neil Clark Warren

The author of this book, Neil Clark Warren, might sound familiar to you because he's the founder of the popular website. But before he did that, he wrote lots of books. His book, Finding Contentment, greatly influenced my own life and I try to read it once a year.

I first came across this book, Finding the Love of Your Life, back in the 90s when I was visiting a friend and stayed in the guest bedroom. I flipped through the book and found it to be pretty interesting, especially since dating seemed like a mystery to me. Well, I think dating still does kinda seem like a mystery. I didn't have time to read the whole book that night, so I skimmed some sections.

When I saw the book a couple of months ago at a booksale, I picked it up so I could finally read it cover to cover.

Warren describes choosing a spouse as "life's single most important challenge." This is what he writes: "Your choice of whom to marry is more crucial than everything else combined that you will ever do to make your marriage succeed...Most of the failed marriages I have encountered were in trouble the day they began. The two people involved simply chose the wrong person to marry."

He goes through ten principles for choosing a spouse, most notably: Get yourself healthy before you get married. And Master the art of intimacy in which Warren writes: "Most individuals don't have time to figure out what's really going on inside of themselves - let alone take time to share it with others."

This is a great book, full of good things to think about in terms of emotional health and the dating process. I'm gonna keep it in my library so that I can pass it on to any of my single friends who want to read about dating. Or, if you're one of those single friends and would like to read it, let me know and I'll send it to you.