Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Book Review

I'm going to review some books I read recently. Remember when I asked y'all to recommend some books? Well hells bells, I actually read some. In no particular order here we go. Actually, in the order I read them. . . so in a very particular order here we go.

The Secret Life of Bees
by Sue Monk Kidd



Interesting book. Light reading I would say. I guess the story was rather dark in certain ways, but still it wasn't too heavy. One of the reasons I like this book is that it takes place in the south, and for some reason I'm intrigued about what goes on in the south (remember Kentucky?). The basic storyline is about a girl whose mother was killed when the girl was just 4 years old. It takes place during the 1960's and she's now 14 years old and looking for some answers since her sorry sack of a dad isn't big into communication, among other things. Being set in the south during the 1960's there is of course a lot about race issues as well. I can't think of too much to say about it right now other than it was enjoyable and kept me interested. I can't say I highly recommend it, I didn't LOVE it . . . but I warmly recommend it.

Next. . .

The Poisonwood Bible
by Barbara Kingsolver


For some reason I've been wanting to read this book for years, but just never have. I enjoyed it and felt it was well worth the time (it's about 500+ pages I think . . . not that that's a lot, shoot I'll read an 800 pager). This is about a family of southern baptists in the late 50's whose father drags them to the Congo to serve as missionaries for a year. This father is also a total butt-head and when the word of a revolution spreads he decides to keep his family there in the midst of terrible danger and you get to see what happens to them as they're left to fend for themselves. The author goes to great lengths to make sure her book is historically accurate and really that's probably what I love most about it. She really gives you a glimpse of what it would be to live in the Congo, especially during their liberation. However (*Slight Spoiler Alert*), the book continues to allude to this awful, horrible incident and I have to say that it was a little bit anti-climatic for me. Yes it was awful, but I was imagining something much worse. That's all I'll say about that. Overall I would definitely recommend this book. I think it's well written, at time the characters were a little too cliche, but still interesting. If nothing else it will make you think about all the things we take for granted, and make you feel guilty for having indoor plumbing.

Finally . . .

The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini



The best for last. . . this was my favorite. I was a little nervous to read this since I kept hearing, "Oh, that book is so sad." And it is so sad, but so hopeful as well. This story takes place in Afghanistan and again is set against the backdrop of political unrest, also historically accurate but in less detail than The Poisonwood Bible. I don't know where to begin, but this is the story about 2 childhood friends, one the son of a rich businessman, the other the son of a poor servant. Even though these boys are separated at a young age their lives are forever intertwined. I don't want to talk too much about the story and the details, but the main themes I took from this book were hope and redemption. Some parts of the book are heartbreaking to read, but it's so moving and made me believe more fervently in the power of goodness and it's sometimes slow but ultimately dominate influence over evil. It's a fast read and moves along quickly. I strongly recommend this book, however keep in mind that if it were a movie (and it already is) it would be rated R.

It's the perfect time to get lost in a good book. . . it's fall. Get a blanket and some hot soup and get to reading. Any more recommendations would be much appreciated.

10 comments:

  1. If you like historical fiction (it's my favorite by far), then I'd recommend, "These is My Words" by Nancy E. Turner. It's about a woman named Sarah Prine who moved with her family to the Arizona Territories in the early 1800's. It made me angry, sad, and is pretty funny as well. I love books that have a full range of emotions. It also has a bit of romance! It is extremely clean as well. One of my favorites. And if you enjoy it, it has a sequel called "Sarah's Quilt" and she's coming out with the last book of the trilogy this month, I think.

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  2. I read the Secret Life of Bees and the Kite Runner and enjoyed them both. The movie for the Kite Runner was supposed to come out in November but they pushed back the date until December. Now it only looks like it's going to be released in the USA on a limited basis for some reason (which I don't know). Anyway, I was glad to see that it only had a PG-13 rating on it. I'm interested to see how the movie turns out. I'm sure nothing will ever beat the book though.

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  3. I was surprised to see on your list "The Poisonwood Bible" because I just went to the library yesterday to get that and it was checked out- dangit! Since you recommend it, I'll make sure to get it eventually. I have another book to recommend though. I just started reading it, but I can already tell I'll like it. It's called, "Guns, Germs, and Steel." Maybe you've heard of it already, but it tries to explain why history has unfolded the way it has around the world, so if you like learning about history...

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  4. I liked Kite Runner as well, I read that last fall.

    And yep, it's coming out soon and is PG 13!

    http://www.kiterunnermovie.com/club/

    There really was only a couple of "R" scenes in the book, so I am sure they did something less severe with them. Hopefully. You can never know even with PG-13 these days.

    Don't read The Twilight series, but you may have already read my distaste for the book. I only read the first one.

    My husband just read The Fountainhead and really liked it. Want some SUPER light reading? Read Stargirl and Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. I have a feeling you will connect to her. Darling little reads (they are for middle school-ish kids though). I just finished Spinelli's Eggs too. I like his style - such interesting characters and good lessons to learn.

    I still want to read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - have you read that? I bought it for a plane ride, read the first 30 pages or so and left it on the plane. I hate that.

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  5. the kite runner is my favorite book ever. i love it. i need to read it again and again

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  6. amy, i sort of know you thru other people but visit your blog cuz it's so interesting and pretty.

    i've worked in a bookstore for the past 3+ years, so i read lots.

    "secret life of bees" was really blah to me. i like books about the south, partly because i grew up there. but this book disappointed me. it really dragged and seemed too much like a lifetime movie.

    i love-loved the "kite runner." i got to meet the author over a year ago at a book signing, and he is an amazing man. most of that story is based on his family's plight in afghanistan and their journey to america. he's pretty amazing. his second book "a thousand splendid suns" is also fantastic. it's somewhat similar to "kite runner," but it more of a woman's perspective.

    here are some amazing reads that i like to suggest to customers: "middlesex" by jeffrey eugenides, "devil in the white city" by erik larson (history book but reads like a mystery-thriller thru most of the book), "when the elephants dance" by tess uriza holthe (a sleeper, but incredible story like "kite runner"), "water for elephants" by sara gruen, "plainsong" by kent haruf, "stiff" by mary roach, "esperanza rising" (can't remember the author, but it is for kids--still a wonderful read)

    that is all. i could go on forever, so i will stop there.

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  7. I will reserve my comments about the Kite Runner for my own blog, as they are strong and not kind, although there were some good aspects. I loved Guns, Germs, and Steel (Pulitzer Prize) and "We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families" about the Rwandan genocide. Amazing writing in a journalistic style.

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  8. Thanks for extra book recommendations--Guns, Germs and Steel sounds really, really interesting and I love reading non fiction so this will be great.

    Tiff--I've heard good things about a tree grows in brooklyn, it's another one my SIL has on her recommended reading list (crombie).

    Mandarin--yes of course, I've run across your blog as well. . . except that I'm forgetting who I know you through. Anyway, thanks for the extended reading list, I'll definitely have to check those out. Especially Middlesex, really interesting from what I've heard.

    And Ellen, what's up with the Kite Runner? Why you no likey? I'm interested to hear this since I've really only heard good things. The book about the Rwandan genocide sounds really good as well. Thanks.

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  9. i think one of our mutual friends could either be matt lemmon, jared clark, mike kelly or josh fritz.

    ask me anytime for a book recommend, for reals. i could go on for days.

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  10. Mand--Yes, Matt Lemmon was the first person who came to mind. But it could have been any of those dudes.

    Have you read The Corrections? If so, is it worth it?

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