Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Thirteenth Tale :: Diane Setterfield


"Do you know the feeling when you start a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you? You leave the prvious book with ideas about themes - characters even - caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book, they are still with you?" (pg 289)

This was the most pointed line from this entire book for me. This quote touched me, as if the author was speaking directly to me for not leaving my last book behind long enough to allow myself to fully appreciate hers.

You see, I had just read The Book Thief - I was carried away by the story, fell in love with the characters - I don't think I mourned the closing of that book an adequate amount of time before jumping into The Thirteenth Tale. So that said, I don't think I appreciated the book entirely. First, I do not typically read mysteries, I don't often like them - so I was a little distracted by the new genre - subsequently, I was very on the fence through the whole book.

I did not like many of the characters - time and again I am a broken record. If I love the characters I devour their story - if I don't love them, I don't. This is not unlike how I behave in real life...I think I am a loyal friend but if someone is unpleasant I simply steer away or hurry through our required contact. For example, in my job - unfortunately, I do not like some of my clients' personalities - as result I may not spend as much time with them as I do with those who seem serious about wanting to make changes. I should actually try to challenge myself in this regard - because more than once I have judged a book by it's cover only to realize I was too rash. And like many of my clients, some of characters in this book were the way they were at no fault of their own. The book is riddled with mental illness (as far as I can tell) and neglect. So had I taken my time with this book, I may have enjoyed it more. To the book's credit, I feel I need to be entirely diplomatic - I will neither encourage or discourage that you should read it - but if you do, please let me know what you think - it might be worth another peek, at another time when I am not still mulling over a previous tale. I do thank the author for helping me to realize that I might be doing that, more often than not. It might be time to slow down and appreciate...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Time of My Life - Allison Winn Scotch & 3 Willows - Ann Brashares

It's been awhile so this post will inclue reviews of two books I finished recently.

The first is Time of My Life by Allision Winn Scotch

This book is for anyone who wonders, "what if...." What if I took a different path, would my life be better? Jillian the main character in this novel found herself wondering these same things and the one morning she wakes up seven years in the past. She has the chance to do everything all over again, with the advantage of knowing what went "wrong." It was interesting to watch Jillian grapple with this new life, while also comparing it to the life she left behind. I enjoyed the book, but at times I was sick of constanly being in Jillian's head, and sometimes I had trouble seeing where she was coming from. I do give credit to Scotch who did have her character struggle with issues that many women and working mothers are constantly facing, she could have created a much fluffier version of the same story, but I think the novel is better for her having written the story as it stands.

The second book I read was 3 Willows by Ann Brashares. The line under the title stated "the sisterhood grows." I do enjoy reading Young Adult literature sometimes, and I had enjoyed listening to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series in the audio book format. However, I could not get into this book, I think I'm just too old. I read it in about two nights, but I didn't care about the characters and just didn't find them as entertianing as the traveling pants girls. This is probably a great book for the younger set, but if you enjoyed The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants as an adult I'm not sure you'd like this book.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Book Thief :: Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

First of all, I'm bursting to tell you I loved this book. It takes place in Germany during World War II, and the narrator is Death. Okay, I know, Death? Death is a character in the book in that he retrieves souls (I imagine that I give him the male voice because the author is a man). The timing is significant because, as you know, there were a lot of souls up for grabs during this time period. He tells the story about Leisel. She is an abandoned foster child, who comes to live with a German family who hide a Jew. He gives the readers a glimpse into their relationships and the way they show love for one another without saying the words in a very trying time.

Anyways, Leisel, is a young girl positively starving for words. She is the book theif. The writing style leads you to imagine her actually eating the words, swallowing them up. As though the words alone sustain her. The book really made me feel things entirely, the rawness, the yearning, the constant sadness hanging in the air.

I am a word lover. This book is filled with describing terms that take you there. I dog-eared some pages, I'm typically reluctant to do this, books are kind of a religon to me - but it was that or the high-lighter was coming out.

"the minutes soaked by..."

"the sky is blue today there is a long cloud stretched out like a rope. At the end of it, the sun is like a yellow hole..."

"the cherries of blood had grown into plums."

"a lemon candle stood below the branches."

The words were so satisfying. I felt like a bit of a theif myself, stealing these delicious words for my own.

I stayed up way past bedtime last night because I could not bear to not know how Leisel's adventure would end. I finished her story today. I don't want to say too much, I would love to hear what others think about the peculiar chapter "set-ups" and the dry humor of Death.

I soaked up every palpable detail, and I hope you do too.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Life All Around Me by Ellen Foster - Kaye Gibbons

I finished this book about a week ago, and well, this post just didn't want to be written because I felt so "meh" about the book I wasn't sure how to write about it. I found an review that summed up exactly how I felt. Check it out here. In fact in the review the author is quoted as saying the book is "contrived."

I first was introduced to Ellen Foster, the prequel to this book, back in high school. I really enjoyed the character's voice and was captivated by the book. The sequel The Life all Around Me sometimes camptured that great voice but overall I was unimpressed.

Sorry guys, but I can't recommend this one.