Saturday, July 04, 2009

Book Report

Finished: Mr. Pip by Lloyd (thanks Jodi) and White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (thanks Valerie). Both are Booker nominated books. I finally realized how Booker books are different from Pulitzer books. I loved this years Pulitzer winner, Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout – a wonderful collection of short stories that tell the story of a small town in Maine. “The suns never sets on the British Empire” is used to describe an empire so large that at least part of the territory is always in daylight The books nominated for the Booker reflect just about everything in the world but America. Mr Pip takes place on an island in Papua New Guinea and White Tiger, in India. Literature at its best.

Then I read Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos. I’m not why I picked it up, it didn’t seem like the type of book that I’d be able to get past the first couple of pages. For one thing the cover is great. You might call it a beach read, but I cried, laughed out loud and was sorry when the book ended. I will read her again.

The Book of Dead Birds by Gayle Brandeis is the one that I have just finished. It’s an older book – 2003, but I saw that Barbara Kingsolver gave her the Bellwether Prize, an award in support of a literature of social responsibility, and decided to give it a try. It starts in my native San Diego at Balboa Park, where my mother had my 6th birthday party, and moves to the Salton Sea, also familiar to me. Her sense of place is wonderful , her characters are genuine and her writing is a powerful and spare ala John Steinbeck. Our library doesn’t own her second book so will have to order it.

Reading: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

On the Nightstand: People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks and Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri.


bspinner said...

Thanks for your book review. I'm off to the library tomorrow and see if they have at least one of your suggestions.

I did pick up Chocolat by Joanne Harris. I'm doing this back wards. I've already listened to The Girl With No Shadow which is the sequel to Chocolat and loved it. I can't start this book until July 13th. It's my "go on vacation book" and we're not leaving until then.

Theresa said...

Great list! I've just finished up the usual book reading extravaganza while I was in MA, but you've given me some new titles to add to my bedside stack!

vlb5757 said...

How are Ruth Reichl's books? My friend Julie says they are great. I haven't read any of them. Hopefully very soon I will pick up and book and actually attempt reading again. I have a book shelf of books that need to be read! I belong to Good Reads and love seeing what others read. Too bad they don't see that I am reading anything!

Sharon said...

I read “Tender at the Bone” a couple of years ago and “Garlic and Sapphires” just this year. While autobiographical, they’re really quite different and wonderfully readable. Her two other two books are on my to-read list. I agree with Julie – great recommendations.

I joined Good Reads at the encouragement of a couple of friends, but just couldn’t make it work for me. I really like The Library Thing because it lets me see who else owns what I’ve read and enjoyed, and then I can see what other books they like and try them.

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

OMG! I love that picture of Charlie! That is so cute! He looks so innocent but at the same time manages to look like he knows exactly what he's doing :)

Janet said...

Thank you so much for your recommendations. I have Olive Kitteridge on my to read shelf - I bought it in Seattle a couple of weeks ago - I think I'll read it next after finishing Ivan Doig's The Whistling Season (another Seattle purchase).

Janet (retired librarian in Dublin)

Leigh said...

Yay for book reports! I always love a good recommendation. Of course, my reading is usually limited to the 10 minutes before I fall asleep, but I still want that 10 minutes to be interesting and worth while.