Monday, July 29, 2013

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennet

The Uncommon Reader

My Rating:  2.5

This somewhat witty mockery of the Queen taking up reading was mildly entertaining.  I think the only reason this little book has gotten so much notice is that it was mentioned in The End of Your Life Book Club.... which is how it ended up in my queue.  I wouldn't recommend that you rush out to get this as there are so many other books that would be more worthwhile.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

My rating:  4.7

Ifemelu leaves Nigeria and her boyfriend Obinze, for life in America and discovers 'race' for the first time.  She starts a blog about 'race' and all of her perceptions in America.  More than all of this though, this book is about love.  A VERY good read.  I will be checking out more books by Adichie.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

Bryson had me literally laughing out loud at times with the tales of him and his friend hiking the A.T.  At other times, I felt that it was a droning lecturing monologue but, thankfully even those were informative and didn't last too long before he got back to the adventures of him and Katz on the trail and totally cracking me up.  Enjoyable read that left me wanting to walk!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

My rating:  2.6

Brooks takes a shred of historical fact - the first native American Indian graduating from Harvard in the 1600's - and weaves this fictional novel about a young girl and the friendship she develops with a this boy, a Chieftain's son, who goes on to Harvard.  I had two large problems with this novel.
Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

1) The narration on the audio version was deplorable!  The speech was so slow and E.N.U.N.C.I.A.T.E.D. I do understand this was supposed to be effecting 17th century speech but, were they slow and stupid or did the narrator assume that the listeners would be?  Many times in listening to this book, I could envision reading the same passage and it would have been much more palatable instead of objectionable.

2) I didn't care about any of the characters.  Bethia is supposed to be a spunky young heroine who's pluck helps her triumph in overwhelming odds.....instead, she is just cliche and tiresome.  I won't go on about the stereotyping of her brother, Caleb or the other characters but, none of them had any depth to draw me in.

Brooks writing is wonderful but, this novel definitely fell short for me.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Maya's Notebook by Isabel Allende

Maya's Notebook

My rating:  3.8

19 year old Maya escapes her foray into a life of drugs, crime and prostitution by going into hiding on a remote island off the coast of Chile.  This story is told in flashbacks from Maya's writings in her notebook.

Allende is an amazing author that made this book come to life.  I loved so many of the characters - eccentric Nini cracked me up, Popo was so wonderful and I wanted to be wrapped up in his arms, my heart broke for Freddy.  This book was a blend of light and fun and some VERY intense and heavy scenes.  There were times that this was too far fetched and the book also seemed to drag but, the great writing made me.  This is not Allende's best work but, still a good read.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

My rating:  2.8

The InterestingsThis novel is about six friends who meet as teenagers at summer camp and their lives covering the 40 years thereafter.

You know that hyper A.D.D. friend we all have that we enjoy but get worn out by and, after spending too much time with them you start to tune out?  That is how this novel was for me.  Very witty and creative and hyper A.D.D. with way too much subject matter attempted.  It was lacking a good editor that should have honed this book into something less meandering and chopped at least 200 [ages from it.  The message that life is full of twists and turns and you don't know where it will lead is only profound to a 20 year old.  For everyone else, this book is more hype than substance.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope

My rating: 3.4

The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda RileyThis is taken directly from the publisher's description:  During WWII, teenager Evelyn Roe is sent to manage the family farm in rural North Carolina, where she finds what she takes to be a badly burned soldier on their property. The rescued body recovers at an unnatural speed, and just as fast, the two of them fall deeply in love.  Rhonda Riley reveals the exhilarating, terrifying mystery inherent in all relationships: No matter how deeply we love someone, and no matter how much we will sacrifice for them, we can only know them so well…

This book is going to be so hard to capture as it dragged a lot and at some points, almost lost me. That being said, it has also stayed with me and haunted me.  .  It was entertaining and fabulous writing.  For the most part, I enjoyed the storyline although it did drag in some parts. It captured farm life so very well.  I felt the author nailed the last two sentences of the paragraph above.