Monday, July 26, 2010

Battle of the Books

I've really been digging the literature lately; my Goodreads account has been hopping. Check out my profile there for all my reviews, but here are my thoughts on a few recent faves that were a little bit special or out of the ordinary for me.

The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris

This book had a very original premise and dealt with frustration, social perception, and family relationships. I thought the writing was fantastic, even if the subject matter was a little far-fetched. It was the kind of story I was telling my husband about.

Invisible I by Stella Lennon & Melissa Kantor
I had no idea what to expect with this book - I added it to my list too long ago to remember why. And I was so surprised and pleased at the fresh, modern mystery. A little bit sci-fi, a little bit techie, and a whole lot of fun. I read through it super quick, too engrossed to set it down. It was set up well for a whole series and I can't wait to get my hands on the others.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet by Jamie Ford
Takes place in Seattle during WWII. A young Chinese boy becomes friends with a Japanese girl, who is then relocated along with all the Japanese people from coastal cities. I was fascinated with the history of the time period, both war-related and not. The evolution of relationships figures prominently and despite being plot-driven, this book was all about the characters to me.

The Likeness by Tana French
This author is awesome! These are pyschological thrillers, I'd say, rather than classic mysteries. The characters are very intriguing and I loved this as a follow-up to Into the Woods, but it can certainly stand alone too. I gave this 5 stars and am thinking of choosing it for my book club.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
I loved this book! It was clearly French, with a bit of a different view and style than American books, and was very refreshing to me. I love the format of very short (2-3 pages) chapters. Even when the material gets deep & philosophical, it is in short bursts and leaves you time between chapters to put the book down and think about what you just read. I don't think I have ever read a book like that. I have never put a book down so many times to ruminate on the subject matter, then pick it back up a little while later.

The vocabulary level was quite high for me, and I pulled my dictionary out a dozen times to check words. Barbery is a fabulous writer, but I think almost as much credit should go to the English translator, Alison Anderson.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog was full of beauty and love and appreciation for art and literature. I feel inspired to take courses in fine art, Russian literature, and Japanese cinema. I'm a huge fan of books that leave you wanting to know more about art and culture. I want to be an autodidact like Renee! (I had to look up autodidact - it means self-taught) I bought my own copy so I can reread it very soon.


Susan said...

I've been reading like crazy this summer, too. Probably has something to do with it being A MILLION degrees outside! I loved INVISIBLE I and I really like Tana French. Haven't read any of the others, but they're all on my list of books I need to read.

Tara said...

Thanks for the quick reviews! I've updated my library list!

Over from mmb

Candice said...

I checked out Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet at the library, after being on the wait list for a long time. I think at the time I also checked out a few other books, so I never got to read that one and had to return it, since it was on the wait list for others. Now that I know it's a good one, I'll re-check it out. I'll have to get Rocco used to having a little lamp on while he nurses so I can get some reading done