Friday, August 31, 2012

august bookstand

I had the advantage of vacation this month, and managed to move four books off my shelf. Maybe onto yours? Let me know if any of these catch your eye and I will send them along. (Donna, I will eventually get around to it, I promise.)

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo
Highly recommend. I might be a bit biased on this one. I picked it up to read to Terzo during vacation. I know that our days of me reading to him are numbered, so this experience was particularly bittersweet. Though it has 27 chapters, they are relatively short. We both enjoyed the book about the china rabbit who couldn't love, and many nights ended with him begging me for just one more chapter. At one point it seemed too terrible to go on, but we both wanted to finish, and we have talked about the themes several times since.

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
Highly recommend. Again, a bit of a bias. Primo read this a couple of years ago and loved it. He immediately handed it off to me but I read the first two pages and decided I wasn't in the mood for a Holocaust novel, but more fool me, because that isn't really what this book is about. Thank goodness I returned to it for my book club. The perspective is very unique, and I enjoyed the writer's style and found myself admiring many of his descriptions. It is not a quick read, but I was very glad that I gave this book another chance.

The Distant Hours, by Kate Morton
Highly recommend. I read her novel The Forgotten Garden last year, and truth be told, found the plot line to be a tad too unbelievable. This novel appealed more to me, probably because it was written about one of my favorite times (pre- and during World War II) in one of my favorite places (England), despite the gothic tones (not one of my favorite styles). The voluminous descriptions dragged on a bit at times, but the ending was a complete surprise and highly satisfying.

The Known World, by Edward P. Jones
Recommend. This book is not easy to follow, because it has multiple characters and jumps around in time and place. It was further complicated by the fact that I read half of it pool-side last year, and then forgot about it in the pool stuff bag until the beginning of this summer. Perhaps the fact that I could forget about a book for so long is a strike against it... but I was glad that I made the effort to pick up all the storylines again and finish it. The subject matter (slave-ownership in pre-Civil War America, particularly by black slave owners) is very thought-provoking, and some scenes of a slave's life were downright chilling.

Beautiful Girls: Stories, by Beth Ann Bauman
Meh. This collection of stories was a quick read, but there wasn't one story in which I really cared about the various protagonists or even what was going to happen to them. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a big fan of short stories to begin with, so this book started out with a strike against it, but there was nothing in here that made me sit up and take notice.

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