Thursday, February 25, 2010

Jae's Book Club

So I just finished another round of really great books. And heeeeeeere they are!

These is my Words: Nancy E. Turner

I'd heard a lot about this book and kept meaning to read it, and then I'd forget. I finally ordered it and was through it in less than 24 hours. A story about a rancher in 1880's Arizona Territory, it follows Sarah as she makes her way in the new territories. While I sometimes found the prose hard to read (it's authentic in the fact the narrator has terrible grammar, etc) I really did like the story. It did border on harlequin every so often, but it was still a fun and very easy read with a very likable main character.

The Shipping News: E. Annie Proulx

Fun fact about my family, my dad is from Newfoundland, where this story takes place. It was written awhile back, and they even made it into a movie in the 90s, but I never read it. I picked up this copy at a used bookstore for like $3, and wished I'd read it long before. While Newfoundland is an odd place, it's also gorgeous, and I loved loved loved reading about people who live like my East Coast family. While the main character is immediately unlikable, you can't help but stay on his side as he moves from New York to Nfld to write for the local paper's shipping news. It really is a beautiful and melancholy book.

Cane River - Lalita Tademy

Easily my favorite book of the bunch, Lalita Tademy quit her high profile VP job in Cali to follow her family's genealogy and write it. Set in Civil War era Lousiana, it follows her great great great grandmothers, who were slaves and their affairs with white men. I remember reading "Underground to Canada" when I was about nine, and it was my favorite book forever ago. Cane River reminded me a little of that, but it also focused on the positive relationships between slaves and their masters, which I thought was very interesting. Anyway, it was a brilliant read and I highly recommend it to those who like historical fiction. Plus, there are tons of vintage pictures of the characters and I loved seeing who I was reading about. Family trees also made it more comprehensive.

White Teeth: Zadie Smith

White Teeth is more than a novel; it read like a social commentary of the last forty years in Post-War England. Religion, race and class are all discussed as the book follows a small grouping of people; some that believe in science, others that believe in God, and some that believe in even more. While the book was interesting as it lacked the traditional structure of a novel aka, the build to the climax and resolution, it was more like seeing a snapshot into these lives. There was no true main character, and instead I was able to see snippets from many different characters. My friend Tim recommended this book to me and I really loved it.

Serendipity: Louise Shaffer

Okay, I'll admit it. I totally bought this book because of its cover. If anyone knows me, they know I am obsessed with the 50s and early 60s fashion, society, roles, everything. I find it all very interesting. So I picked this one up and started to read. Based in 1950s Broadway, it looks at a dysfunctional family with dysfunctional family secrets and slowly reveals them through the course of the book. A really good and light read, I liked the open quality of the writing, and okay, I'll say it: the description of the fashions. lol. I'M SHALLOW, OKAY?

Firefly Lane: Kristin Hannah

I'd never read anything by Kristin Hannah, and to be brutally honest, I'm not sure I would read anything by her again, but not because of this book. Firefly Lane, using the last three decades as a backdrop for two friend's lives, was actually quite addicting to read. And while it was more "dishy" than I usually prefer, I still liked it. And I totally cried through the last chapter. I did find the writing predictable and even cheesy at times, but I don't regret reading it. It was the literary equivalent of a chick flick; fluffy, a little mindless, but overall satisfying.

Julie and Julia: Julie Powell

I absolutely loved reading this book, though I have yet to see the movie. It reads like a private blog, which means that Julie Powell became a very imperfect heroine in her own novel. I really appreciated her holding nothing back; her missteps, triumphs, failures and even marital problems were all listed there in the book. While the ending wasn't a surprise; she finagled a movie deal out of the whole thing, there was a feeling of closure at the end of the book that I was happy with.

I need to go back to the used bookstore to find what else I can dig up. I can't say no to a cheap book! $2?Of course I'll buy it. Also, they totally gave me free books for spending so much! Woo hoo!


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