Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

This book made me weep.

A friend, Margaret, recommended it to me, but she cautioned me that she had cried throughout the book.

As I read it, I didn't cry and I wondered, "What made Margaret cry?"

And then I hit the last ten pages.

Tears started streaming down my face as I read the ending, and I wept for a good time after I had finished the book.

Boomer asked, "What made you cry? What was the book about?"

All I could say was, "Life."

The book was about life, specifically the life of a Bengali family that immigrates to the United States. But this story could have been the story of any family from any country.

The end wasn't shocking or anything like that, it was simply about life. And life, with all of its ups and downs, includes some heartbreaking loss.

This was one of the best books I've read in 2010. You all know that I usually don't buy books since I just check them out from the library. But I am thinking about buying this one to have in my personal library.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Spent: Memoirs of a Shopping Addict by Avis Cardella

I really dislike clothes shopping. My mom and my sister like shopping, so last year, I told them that I needed more professional clothes for work. They went out together and bought me a bunch of clothes. I didn't even set foot in a store.

In this memoir, the author was addicted to shopping. Needless to say, I did not relate so much to her need to shop and buy clothes, shoes, and purses.

She goes somewhat into her recovery process and the origin of her addiction (an attempt to soothe feelings of grief and loss), but not as much as I had hoped.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs: Family, Friendships, and Faith in Small-Town Alaska by Heather Lende

This author is a newspaper columnist. She got ran over by a truck and lived. She goes into her thoughts on her recovery and her small-town home in Alaska.

Some chapters were more interesting than others, but overall: B+.

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

Why do I keep picking up these Chinese-American immigrant books? I say that I don't like them and then I check yet another one out from the library. I wonder if I am internally working out some part of my identity through literature.

So yes, I did pick up another one of these books, but luckily this one had NO mention of a Formica table! Cool! Note to all of those Chinese-American authors out there: Not every book needs to mention a Formica table! Not every Chinese family has one! Oh wait, my grandma had one, so now my sister does, so maybe we do. Back to the book.

Kimberly moves with her mother from Hong Kong to Brooklyn. To earn a living and to repay a debt to her aunt, they work in a sweatshop.

I was really into this book. The only disappointment was the Epilogue. It talked about the main character, but did not let me know what happened to any of the supporting characters whom I had come to care about.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Confections of a Closet Master Baker: One Woman’s Sweet Journey from Unhappy Hollywood Executive to Contented Country Baker by Gesine Bullock-Prado

It wasn’t until I read a few pages that I realized that this is written by Sandra Bullock’s sister. She worked for Sandra in LA at her production company before getting fed up with the Hollywood lifestyle. She found that she was more interested in baking, so she moved to Vermont and opened up a bakery.

I really like it when people quit their jobs and pursue a passion.

Of course, this book contains recipes as a lot of books do these days. And of course, I would never attempt to make any of these because the ingredients were too complicated for me.

A pleasant read, but not a must-read.

I guess the title of the book was changed when it was published in paperback:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China by Jen Lin-Liu

This is a memoir – the author is Chinese-American and she moves to Beijing where she attends cooking school. The book includes recipes (this seems to be a popular format these days) for dishes that I would love to make, but the ingredient lists were a tad too long for me to think about making any of them. Some of her descriptions of food made me crave real Chinese food, especially when she described learning how to make noodles and dumplings.

The author grew on me as the book went on, and I admired her tenacity and humility. Overall though, this book was above-average and enjoyable, but did not make my Must-Read list.

Molly Fox's Birthday by Deirdre Madden

This book is unique in a couple of ways. First, it takes place in one day! Secondly, there are no chapters. It’s just straight through prose. It’s written from the perspective of a woman (who remains nameless) house-sitting for the theatre actor, Molly Fox, and it happens to be Molly’s birthday.

The story got slow and boring for me about 1/3 the way through and I took a break, but once I picked it up again, I was interested enough to finish it. However, it wasn’t the easiest book to read.