Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Notes on Some Books

LOSING CLEMENTINEicon by Ashley Ream
Clementine decides that she has 30 days to live. She is going to end it all at the end of the 30 days. She thinks that the world will be well rid of her. In this novel, she chronicles these last days of her life with biting sarcasm, humor and insight.

MAN SEEKS GODicon by Eric Weiner
Author of the GEOGRAPHY OF BLISS, which I also enjoyed, Weiner chronicles his quest to find his God, by exploring faiths and people of a variety of beliefs and faiths around the world. Fascinating and enjoyable.

DEFENDING JACOBicon by William Landay
Narrated by Adam, a lawyer, who discovers that his son, Jacob, is a suspect in the death of one of his classmates. This kept me turning pages till the very end.

THE FAULT IN OUR STARSicon by John Green
What a stunning book. Lev Grossman's review in Time magazine said that this book will (or should) join the canon of important teen books, joining the likes of ARE YOU THERE GOD, IT'S ME MARGARET and CATCHER IN THE RYE. Yes, it's the story of a girl who has cancer who meets a boy who has cancer...but it is not a "cancer book" (many of which, at a certain time in my life, I read like crazy). This is lovely.

What an interesting book. It is one of the most appealing books to look at and page through, certainly in the trade paperback format. The story is interspersed with drawings related to the story (and the word "drawings" really doesn't do these artistic manifestations justice). I found myself losing interest in the story, but skipping ahead to find out how the story related to the next drawing.

PRIMACYicon by J.E. Fishman
A thriller, PRIMACY takes us into the world of animal testing. Liane Vinson works for Pentalon, a huge animal testing lab. She discovers that two of the apes in the lab have an ability heretofore unknown in the animal world. She risks her life to save the apes and what they stand for. There was one plot point in the middle of the book that I did not buy as a reader. Once I got past that, the story kept me going and I enjoyed it.

This year Multnomah County chose this book as its Everybody Reads selection. Set in Portland, a young girl comes to live with her grandmother. Half Danish and half African-American, Rachel tries to figure out who she is after the trauma that she lived through as well as her racial heritage.

THE HOURSicon by Michael Cunningham
Yes, I finally read this. I saw the movie when it first came out, but had never read the book. Now I have. What lovely and amazing writing. I am looking forward to reading more by Cunningham.

THE MIRAGEicon by Matt Ruff
A satirical alternate reality novel in which the two Arabian towers are blown up on November 9, 2001 (get it? 11/9?) by Christian fundamentalists. The U.A.S. (United Arab States) is a superpower trying to defeat terrorism headquartered in the Rocky Mountains. North America is made up of fractured warring entities. Is this reality? Not really meant to be commentary on terrorism or international relations, it's a good bit of fun.

In this book, Jacobs, of THE YEAR OF LIVING BIBLICALLY, turns his attention to trying to be the healthiest man alive. He changes the way he eats, how he works, how he exercises (okay, he starts exercising), how he breathes. Since he is (admittedly) fairly compulsive, becoming more healthy was a good, if sometimes challenging focus for him. Fun!

IN ONE PERSONicon by John Irving
John Irving has been hot and cold for me. Some of his books I couldn't get into or didn't like (Garp), and others (PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY, CIDER HOUSE RULES) are some of my favorite books of all time. I'm in the middle of this one now. The main character and narrator, Billy, is a bisexual, coming of age in the 50's and 60's, trying to find his place in the world and with people. A bit meander-y, I like the character and am drawn into his world by Irving's capable hand. (will be released May 8, 2012)

Anna Quindlen reflects on life...motherhood, aging, women in society, and marriage. Using her own life as backdrop for her reflections, this felt a little essay-y. Her deft hand captures many fairly universal feelings and experiences.


Clicking on the underlined book title takes you to Barnes and Noble's web page for the book. Clicking on the book cover takes you to Amazon's page for the book. Purchasing through these links helps support the blog. Thanks for stopping by!

What have you been reading? You can let us know in a comment here or on our facebook page, NOT the New York Times Book Review.

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