Archive | July, 2015

Reading up a Frenzy.

8 Jul

Whoa. I finished two entire books this week, plus one the week before. I keep laughing at how much things have changed in my life, not so long ago I could spend an entire weekend reading and get through 3 or 4 books. Right now 3 books in two weeks feels like a massive achievement.

For starters, I dug back through my To-Be-Read pile and pulled out Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling’s Cuckoo’s Calling. Lots of my favorites have recommended it and I felt like I needed something suspenseful to get me back into the swing. cuckoo's callingI was so pleasantly surprised with this – what a great mystery! For some reason I wasn’t expecting it to be a Hollywood dazzler sort of a story, but it was thoroughly entertaining. Here’s the plot line: A high profile model apparently jumps off her balcony, ending her life and setting off a media wildfire. Her much older brother employs private detective Cormoran Strike to investigate some months later, as he is displeased with the police’s ruling of suicide. So good, so twisty. 4 stars.

in the country

Seems like every year there is one short story collection that somehow ends up in my hands, and somehow it is always amazing. Every time it happens, I feel like I preface the post with “Well, I don’t really like short stories…” Up until now. Guess what? I kind of really like short stories every now and then! This collection, In the Country by Mia Alvar, was awesome – all the stories are about the Filipino community – either in the Philippines or in Bahrain or in the States. There were so many that I loved – the one that sticks out the most to me is the title story, the last story in the collection, about a young nurse in the Philippines who organizes a strike for equal pay, only to fall in love with the reporter who comes to cover it. The rest of the (longest) story follows their relationship through political prison, charges of treason, frightening revolutionary things. It was great. 5 stars.

ill-give-you-the-sunI swallowed this entire YA novel up in one great big greedy gulp. It was such a wonderful, wonderful story. I let the baby fidget in her crib an extra fifteen minutes this morning because I just HAD TO FINISH it. The story is about twins, a boy (Noah) and a girl (Jude). The chapters alternate in perspective, Noah’s are told when the twins are 13, Jude picks up the story and the following chapter three years later at the age of 16. So you sort of read the novel from the outsides in – you know the set up, but you also know the outcome fairly quickly. For instance, you know that at the age of 13 they have a mother, at the age of 16 they don’t. At 13, they are inseparable but at 16 they pretty much avoid each other. At 13, Jude is the popular one and Noah is an outcast, at 16 roles have pretty much been reversed. So you work your way closer and closer to the meat of the story and then back out again to the resolution. It was SO GREAT. Lots of art, lots of passion, lots of amazing imagery. 5 stars!

 

 

One of Ten Thousand Family Affairs

1 Jul

Sometimes all you need to get you out a reading funk is a well-written story of a messed up family. Guess what? I found one! among

If you can see (it’s small), Jonathan Safran Foer gave a pretty nice blurb for this debut novel – reason enough for me to pick it up. He’s a favorite of mine, and one who doesn’t blurb often. Page one tells us that the husband in this family drama, Jack, has had an affair. The recently scorned other woman has printed out an entire novel’s worth of all of their emails and texts, wrapped it up with a bow and sent it off to Jack’s wife, Deb. Pretty common groundwork for any novel that includes an affair. However! Usually in these novels, I find one of the two (Jack or Deb, in this case) completely unsympathetic. The wife is to wishy-washy, the husband too unconvincing, why were they ever even married in the first place? what did they see in each other? In Among the Ten Thousand Things, I liked both sides. I totally believed that there was love in that relationship, love that would make you really consider staying or leaving. Yes, the story is sort of depressing. Yes, there are children involved who are directly affected by the marital drama. Yes, there are some hilarious moments and great lines. I’d give this 3.75 stars, rounded up to 4 for ease (and because I haven’t read ANYTHING lately). Hits shelves July 7, 2015.