Monday, April 19, 2010

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett

I checked this book out of the library and promptly forgot about it. It sat in my nightstand for two weeks until I remembered that it was due soon. I thought that I had better at least start it so I could have time to read it if I wanted to.

I picked it up on a Friday night and sped right through it to a Sunday finish.

It’s a tale of crime and books. What are people willing to do to get a book? Especially a rare first edition copy? Yep, they steal, and this book is all about that, focusing on one thief and the bookseller who was determined to find him.

A lot of the action takes place in northern California, so a lot of the places are familiar.

Fascinating. Another recommended book for 2010. (I know I’ve been recommending the past several books that I’ve read. I always seem to find really, really good books to read right when I have a big paper to write. And so it is true for the past several weeks as I’ve been working on my Comprehensive Exam, my last paper for graduate school. And all of these good books have seemed to surface in the last several weeks as well. What a coincidence!)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

This book was recommended by one of my supervisors, an older gentleman who claimed that he finished the book on a plane ride home, sobbing all the way. So I checked it out.

It didn't make me cry, but it had me wanting to read and read and not stop. Finally, I said that I was going to sit on the couch unti I finished it.

This is about a little Jewish girl in Paris during WWII who, along with her parents, is taken away by the French police following Nazi orders. Her little brother goes to hide in a secret cupboard, and the little girl, Sarah, locks the cupboard and promises to return to get him. She has no idea that her and her parents will be taken away for so long...and that her parents will never return.

Her story is intertwined with a modern-day reporter who is investigating this police round up of Jews.

This book is all about secrets and what secrets do to us.

Another highly recommended book - but read it only if you have a lot of time, because you won't want to do anything else!

Lucky Girl by Mei-Ling Hopgood

Usually I don't read books by Asian-Americans - the whole suffering in China, immigration experience, awkwardness in American society just makes me cringe. And why is there ALWAYS a Formica table??

I surprised myself when I picked this one up because it is written by a Chinese-American woman. She was born in Taiwan and adopted by white American parents who raised her in Michigan. When she's in her 20s, she reconnects with her birth family. And this isn't just a one-time meeting, she actually travels over there on numerous trips and gets to know her sisters.

This is a well-written book and the author's journey is really interesting - the development of her own ethnic identity and how she deals with her birth family and the secrets that she comes across.

The ending is sweet.

One of the first books of 2010 that I highly recommend.