Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

This story takes place in the Mississippi Delta in the late 1940s. Laura, a city-girl from Memphis, struggles to adjust to country living after her husband buys a farm. The story is narrated by six different characters (which I thought wouldn't work very well, but it was actually seamless).

There is one particularly gruesome part that made me say "Ewwww..." out loud. Just to warn you.

One of the best books I've read so far in 2011.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

My sister emailed me:
I just read a quick, sweet (or bittersweet?) book called The Art of Racing in the Rain. It is all told from the perspective of the protagonist's dog. I was skeptical at first but it ended up working for me. I read it in just four days--fast for me!

I wrote back:
About The Art of Racing in the Rain: Does the dog DIE at the end???? If he does, I will not read it.

The next day, my sister wrote:
The dog does die but that's not the main focus of the story.

I wrote:
Too late. When I got your email about the book, I was at the library so I checked it out. Started reading it when I got home and finished it! It made me cry. Enzo was such a good dog. It was a really good book! Thanks for recommending it!

My sister responded:
Hahaha! You read hella fast! I thought the dog as narrator worked surprisingly well.

Check that out! My sister (who taught me to read, by the way) said that I read HELLA fast! That means SO MUCH because she is a Reading Teacher! Really, that's her job! She listens to first graders sound out words all day.

So yes, this book is told from the perspective of a dog. And it made me sob. The last book that made me weep (and that's different from sob) was The Namesake back in September.

Read this book!
A box of Kleenex nearby is recommended, reading it with your pet on your lap or by your side is highly recommended.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

These are Books II and III of the Hunger Games trilogy. Katniss, Peeta, and Gale are back again and the unrest in the districts is growing.

I was a tad disappointed with these books. I found both of them to be slower and much harder to get into than The Hunger Games. After about 60 pages or so, I got more into the stories, but neither book took over my life like The Hunger Games did...although I did stay up a bit later to finish Mockingjay.

A part of me wishes that I had stopped at The Hunger Games. The series seemed to lose some steam as it chugged toward closure. I would still recommend the series, but would suggest having lower expectations for the second and third book.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman by Elizabeth Buchan

Rose, a book review editor, loses both her job and her husband of 25 years within days of each other. She is then left to pick up the pieces of her life.

This was a bestseller in Britain and I can see why. It was an enjoyable read and like another book I recently reviewed, Separate Beds (by the same author), would be a very good pick for an afternoon at the pool. Or an airplane ride. My only complaint is that sometimes the flashbacks are confusing and I had to re-orient myself several times.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal by Ben Mezrich

I thought that this book would be factual, but it's based on interviews...and none with Mark Zuckerberg. It's more of a dramatization of what might have happened.

I've never written this on this blog, but here it goes: Don't read this book, just watch the movie (The Social Network).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Separate Beds by Elizabeth Buchan

This is the fictional story of a family in crisis and a marriage on the rocks. It takes place in London in the house of the Annie and Tom, a middle-aged couple who have been disconnected from each other in many ways for many years. A daughter lives with them, and over the course of the story, a son and baby, plus a mother-in-law and dog also take up residence with them because of the recession.

A detailed look at a family with all of its ups-and-downs. I enjoyed it, and wished that I had been on vacation while reading it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Emotional Calendar by John Sharp

Do you feel excited when you see the first signs of spring appearing? Do the holidays bring up feelings of dread?

Seasons, holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries affect us in various ways. This book encourages us to become more aware of what it is about different seasons and special days that affect us each individually so that we can be better prepared to handle the challenges that seasons or milestone days bring.

This was a so-so read for me. Some interesting things, but not extremely helpful. I agree that it's good to be aware of these things, but the book didn't offer that much advice about what to do about it all.