Sunday, February 21, 2010

Between Books

I just finished Chris Bohjalian's Secrets of Eden. I did quite enjoy it, though the teenager's voice was not always convincing to me. Good story, it kept me guessing until the very end.

And yes, they included a readers' discussion guide and frankly, if you can't find anything to discuss from this book without a readers' guide, then you're an imbecile. This book is teeming with things to discuss.

Domestic violence and abuse is a main theme (and sometimes pretty graphically described). My favorite line: "There are no people in the world who are better at keeping secrets. You want to find a good spy? Pick a battered woman. There are things they won't tell a soul. And they can really take a punch."

So what to read next? I am deciding between Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Gabrielle Burton's Impatient with Desire (about the Donner party).

I am kind of drawn to Oscar Wao...for one thing it was sent to me by a Bookcrosser ( - one of my favorite sites) from Scotland so it has a different (and more appealing to me) cover. The US cover is off-white with a pink silhouette on it. The UK cover has a pudgy boy of about 6 years old wearing a red superhero mask pushed up off his face, sitting at a table with toys, sandwich and a comic book as he's putting something in his mouth. Evidently there are lots of sci-fi/fantasy references, many of which I'm sure I'll miss, not being a huge sci-fi fan. Diaz won the Pulitzer Prize for this book (which doesn't automatically mean I'll love it), and many other awards. It sure has been a good seller at the bookstore (which also doesn't necessarily mean I'll love it).

Burton's book about the Donner party interests me too, though frankly the cover and the title make it look like a historical romance, and I'm not sure I want to read about the 1800's right now.

Another one I'm interested in is A Reliable Wife, though that is also a period piece. However, I don't HAVE that book right here. So it shall have to wait.

I'll be giving Oscar Wao a try. It looks like a pretty quick read.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Book Lover,
    I love Oscar Wao's book and you should definitely read it. Also The Reliable Wife is terrific. We're in complete synch here, except for timing. I vote that you read my novel, Impatient with Desire, first, because it's coming out March 9th and a review on your terrific blog would be very helpful. It's about Tamsen Donner, the pioneer heroine of the ill-fated Donner Party of 1846. It's not a steamy romance--though there is a love story. The title is from a letter Tamsen wrote her sister at age 23. In the middle of a trip on a great sailing ship at a time when women didn't travel alone, she wrote: "My heart is big with hope and impatient with desire." It's known from history that Tamsen kept a journal, but it was lost. Impatient with Desire is her lost journal imagined, particularly during the more than 4 months she was trapped in the Sierra Nevadas with her dying husband and five starving daughters. It has its sad dark places but ultimately is a story of hope, courage, and endurance. It's also a pretty short book. If I haven't convinced you, I hope you'll read it second.
    All best,
    Gabrielle Burton