Sunday, January 30, 2005

Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress by Susan Jane Gilman

Yesterday, David and I found a new bookstore in Peninsula called the Blue Heron Bookstore. It used to be a mangy antique store and it has been fixed up with beautiful wooden shelves and a great display area with a fireplace and big chairs. It has a two story tree house in the kids bookroom. But the store is small, and independent and has a feel of warmth and luxury. I saw this book on a display stand and it looked like something I should get to remember our stop at this lovely store by. Plus, it had a recommendation blurb on the cover from Frank McCourt. I started it this morning and have not put it down. I have been laughing out loud. David has already had to listen to me read enough of it that he is advising I finish it quickly since he feels like he is living with the narrator. I love it.

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Thank goodness I have a daughter in the 5th grade who still allows her mother to read to her at bedtime. Without her I would not have been exposed to the magic of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Incidents, which we devoured before going to see the excellent movie. Now with another movie on the horizon, we are reading Because of Winn Dixie.
We had read Tale of Despereaux last year and loved it. I am loving the narrative voice of young Opal. And the movie stars both Cicely Tyson and Dave Matthews. I can't wait.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost

This is the book club selection for February for our book club. It is really a travelogue by a guy who went with his girlfriend to live on an atoll in the Pacific without any of the comforts of home. There are pages about the natives using the ocean as a toilet and pages about having nothing to eat but fish. And pages about not having beer. It is quite funny. No real pages about sex lives, though.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Our Kind by Kate Walbert

The winter the way it has been here in Ohio, I read this book in one evening by the fire the very day it came from Amazon in a shipment with my daughter's new Lemony Snicket book. The story of middle aged women in the 50's didn't touch me directly but I like the use of different narrators for different sections of the novel.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Last Song of Dusk by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi

This beautiful book took me by surprise. I was initially intrigued by the cover and then when I read that the author has been compared to Allende, Marquez and Roy - three of my favorites - I knew I had to buy it. I couldn't put it down. It is a tale of love and terror, full of magical realism and almost too lush prose. The author claims to have read a lot of Rilke when he was young, and I picked that up too. I wanted to start reading it again the moment I finished, and that happens very rarely.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Gilead by Marilynn Robinson

Another Christmas present from David, this book has taken me a while to read. It is beautifully written but very slow and meant to be savored. The narrator is an aging minister who writes a long letter to his young son about his past and his faith. I was particularly interested in this book because of all of the ministers in my family. When he talks about boxes of sermons that represent a lifetime of thought , I think of my grandfather, who I have only met through the words he left behind. Robinson teaches at Iowa Writers Workshop and was one of Salvatore Scibona's instructors when he was a student there. He gave me a copy of Robinson's Housekeeping. This makes her a special writer in my mind.

Monday, January 03, 2005

The Full Cleveland by Terry Reed

This was such a fun read for someone who grew up in Cleveland in the 1970's. I enjoyed the naive narrator and the escapades on the Rapid and through town. Best line - "Shaker Heights isn't a community, it is a realm."