I’m plugging away on Donna Tartt’s first novel, The Secret History, which I am loving although a review won’t be up for awhile; it’s long! In the meantime, it’s good to know that reading well written fiction is helping my brain 🙂
Loving Frank tells the story of Mamah Borthwick (pronounced may-mah) and her affair with Frank Llloyd Wright. I hated Mamah with a fiery passion throughout the whole book because of the train wreck she was creating yet at the same time I loved the fact that this book did not glamorize affairs like our society does. At the start of the book, Mamah is in love with her husband and they have a sweet son named John. Her husband decides he wants to build a house and that is where Frank enters the picture. She starts emotionally cheating on her husband but tries to cut things off by 1) having another child with her husband and 2) befriending Frank’s wife. Neither of these things work and she falls madly in love with Frank (insert finger into mouth here). She goes on a vacation with her children to get some space from her husband but then ends up leaving them with friends as she runs off to Europe with Frank. Her children suffer incredible emotional trauma as she stays away for years leaving her sister and ex-husband to try to sooth the children and attempt to create a normal life for them. Finally, Mamah returns to the United States and attempts to build a relationship with her scared for life children. Alas, it’s too late because on August 15, 1914, an intruder murders Mamah, her two children, and four other individuals with an ax. It’s quite clear that Mamah’s two children basically had the worst childhood ever which is why I hated the book however, it was a book that was incredibly well written and I think it was meant to show how much Mamah messed up pretty much everything that had ever been good in her world. Thus, because the author intended for this book to be hated, I gave it four stars 🙂 Read at your own risk only if you want to be really, really angry after you’re done! Hmph!
Wave was recommended by my favorite author, Ann Patchett, during an interview and I finally sat down to read it. The author writes of the loss of her entire family after the tsunami in December of 2004. She was vacationing in Sri Lanka with her parents, husband, and two young sons and only she remained after the tsunami hit. The first few chapters explain what happened that day but the rest of the book shares her grieving process and how she handled the loss of everyone that was most important to her. She had to build a new life and start to heal.
I enjoyed this book because the author was incredibly honest about how she acted and the poor choices she made out of anger. She was so incredibly enraged throughout much of the book. I hope writing everything down helped her heal. If you’re in the mood for a book that is a bit more intense, check out Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala.
Nothing is better than a book about books! Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is a lighthearted, fantastical book reminiscent of Ready Player One in which a previously unemployed man suddenly finds employment in a 24 hour book shop with three strict rules: 1) he must work from 10pm-6am without exception, 2) he may not read any of the books in the bookstore, and 3) he must document the physical appearance of everyone who comes into the bookstore and the details surrounding their business at the shop.
The bookstore is split into two sections- books up front are typical used books purchased by customers where the books in the “wayback” are borrowed by odd looking individuals, typically older, frantic for specific books. One evening a friend visits our main character at the shop and convinces him to break rule #2 by opening one of the books. Doing so launches this book into a fast paced treasure hunt that I simply adored so much that I ordered my own copy from BookOutlet.com
I’m so in love with books about books!!! OH, and the cover glows in the dark!<3
A bell above a door and the tinkle it makes. A clerk and a ladder and warm golden light, and then: the right book exactly, at exactly the right time.
For years I have worked with students with special needs and have been lucky enough to catch quick glimpses into their lives at various times. It’s one thing to work with them but another when something happens that for just a moment you are truly able to see things from their point of view. The handful of times that has happened left me with goosebumps.
Naoki Higashida allows readers the rare opportunity to experience life from his point of view in the book The Reason I Jump. The author was a 13 year old living in Japan when he used an alphabet grid to express what it was like to live with autism. The book format consists of a variety of questions with Naoki’s responses below them. His answers are fairly short and the book is a quick read yet with a huge impact. It really changed the way I think about individuals with autism and will influence the way I teach them in the future.
Although people with autism look like other people physically, we are in fact very different in many ways. We are more like travelers from the distant, distant past. And if, by our being here, we could help the people of the world remember what truly matters for the Earth that would give us a quiet pleasure.
I’ve become a bit of a book snob lately. I didn’t set out to become one, but after reading so many books in 2013, it just happened. I’m better able to tell low quality writing from high quality whereas before I simply focused on plot. Friends have recommended books to me clearly from writers requiring a great deal more practice- I could not read them. It seems publishers accept manuscripts from people my age (20s) recently who typically don’t have the experience required to write well. To make matters worse, they force authors into stretching a stand alone novel into a trilogy to sell more books.
While The Kept by James Scott is a debut novel, it is not at all like the books I described above. Vivid and sometimes gruesome imagery drips from the pages. The novel is a mystery about a midwife coming home in the dead of winter to discover her family shot to death and left to freeze. One son still remains hiding with a gun hoping for the killers to return so he can take his revenge yet accidentally shoots his mother when she returns home. The story is about a mother and son trying to avenge the murder of their family members but is also about their relationship together and the secrets between them. James Scott artfully tells a story that is more literary fiction than mystery. It was a great novel to read on a snow day home from work and I can’t wait to receive my own signed copy thanks to Parnassus First Edition Club.
***I own a signed copy of this book!***
I never win anything and just my luck, I won The Vanishing by Wendy Webb thanks to Goodreads and her publisher, Hyperion!!! A few months ago, I read The Fate of Mercy Alban– the scariest book of my life. I followed it up by reading her first novel and then luckily, only had a month wait until her newest book came out.
Please expect a gothic mansion, a group of strangers, and a ghost or two in all her books. The Vanishing is very similar to her other novels and is a great read for a stormy night- or just a night in general. I really enjoyed reading it and I read it almost straight through. While this was a great book, I can’t help comparing it to The Fate of Mercy Alban and it was just not even close to the same level of quality. I almost got the feeling that she wrote this one earlier in her career and polished it up to publish. I did love the book, but if you’re going to start reading Wendy Webb start with The Fate of Mercy Alban because it’s simply the best!
PS- The old woman in this story reminded me of Shirley Jackson- what did you guys think?