Jun 30, 2005

Vanishing Acts, Jodi Picoult


This is the latest from Jodi Picoult, and it is pretty much what we’ve come to expect from this author. A little bit of a mystery, a bit of romance, a court room crime drama situation that manages not to derail the book, and so on. I really like her stuff, but I’ll have to be honest, this one comes apart at the seams a bit. They are all good page-turning beach reads, but some of Picoult’s books are definitely better than others.

Our main girl Delia is a semi-single mom (maybe in her late 20s?) whose relationship with her baby-daddy, Eric, has been rocky because of his alcoholism. She has a very close relationship with her own father, who solely raised her because her mom died when she was very young, or so she’s been told. Turns out, her mom is not dead, her dad kidnapped her from Arizona when she was really young, changed their names, moved them to New Hampshire, and has been living the suburban life of a fugitive ever since. He did this, he insists, because her mother was a terrible mother, being an extreme alcoholic.

So Delia’s father is arrested, she is having a real true identity crisis, Eric is a lawyer so he’s trying to represent Delia’s dad, Delia meets her mom, this other best friend of theirs is actually in love with Delia and gets all up in the mess, Delia has an experience with this Native American spiritualist, and on and on. I could list about fifty more plot elements without giving anything away, and therein lies my point: there is just too much thrown in here for a cohesive novel to emerge. It’s an ok book, but most of her other books are way better, especially My Sister’s Keeper.

Jun 16, 2005

I read the Bourne Identity, by Robert Ludlum. This is a thriller about a man named Jason Bourne who is found washed up on a beach with no memory. He has no idea who he is and his only clue is a microfilm implanted in his hip. Little does he know, this microfilm will lead him to a bank in Zurich, where he will start on a race for his life against unknown forces, the whole time trying to piece together his fragmented past. He is told by one source that he is one of the most feared assassins in the world, only topped by the mysterious assassin Carlos. Bourne is actually a trap for Carlos, a tool being used by the US government. He meets a woman named Marie St. Jacques, who tries to convince him he's not an assassin, and she eventually succeeds, but that's for the sequel.

I recommend this book to people who are not looking for a quick read. Sometimes the details used make it a slow read, but it's exciting and worth the time investment. You also have to like action and thrills if you read this book. Just in case you can't put it down, make sure you have some time on your hands.

Jun 8, 2005

Your personal favorites

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Yet again, I must start a post in bibliotalk with "I don't know if this is allowed".

I think that one can learn a lot about one's taste in books by reading reviews, but even more by reading a list of a blogger's personal favorite books. I'm sure that we have all filled out the 'books' section in our profiles, so why not simply copy and paste our selections into comments on this entry? Reading through these lists may give us all some background information on the reviewer's taste in literature. This might be helpful while considering reviews on bibliotalk, don't you agree? I'll start:

Cut, Wasted: The Memoir of an Anorexic and Bulimic, The Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men, Stargirl, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books, Violet and Claire, The Belljar, The Feed, Burgerwuss, Thirsty, Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teens, Born Confused, Hard Love, The Gospel Acording to Larry, Jinx, Buddhism Without Beliefs, Born Confused, the Gossip Girl books, the Harry Potter books, A Chamber of Horrors, Wuthering Heights, Romeo and Juliet, This Lullaby, Elvis by the Presleys, Taming of the Shrew, Modern Feminisms

Jun 7, 2005

The Burn Journals, Brent Runyon


Wow. This is a totally amazing book. I kept having to remind myself that Runyon didn’t write this weeks after all this happened but years, because the way he puts everything down, the language he uses and the tense and everything just make it all feel so real and immediate. Of course it is real, but sometimes when you are reading non-fiction and there is dialogue, or there are parts where the author is telling what they were thinking at the time, it is so unbelievable. And you know the author just forgot what it felt like, or what somebody said, and just had to make it up to fill in the blanks. Not this book. Maybe Runyon did have to do that, but you never get that feeling at all. Everything he is thinking, the thoughts he has about why he set himself on fire and what he was like before and after, it’s just so authentic, not cheesy or moralistic or anything. It just really amazes me that he was able to get back into his fifteen-year-old brain and think in that same way again. Really well done. I wish this guy would write more YA, because he definitely has a great style for it, but he hasn’t written anything else at all.

Jun 5, 2005

A Mango-Shaped Space, Wendy Mass

Find this book in the Hawley Library


I just really love this book. Normally I am extraordinarily critical, and pick apart this and that. This is not to say this is a life-altering, amazingly perfect book. But there is a sweet and gentle story, wrapped up in some real stuff that’s not overly dramatized.

Mia has synesthia – a condition where she sees colors in association with words, numbers, sounds, etc. In third grade she is called a freak and she understands no one else can see colors, so she hides it from her family and friends until her problems at school become overwhelming and she happens to meet a kid who appears to have the same deal she does. In other story lines, her grandpa has just died and she sort of transfers her grief into love of a new cat, the Mango of the title.

I don’t really want to give more away, just say that her condition is real, not many people at all have it but it is really interesting. Wendy Mass does a good job creating a story around it, with real and lovable characters.