Jul 7, 2015

Book 76: The Impossible lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer

Greta Wells lives in 1985 and is having a terrible time dealing with the death of her win brother.  She undergoes a treatment to help with her depression and finds herself cycling through the lives of other Gretas in other times.  There is the 1918 version and a 1941 version as well as her own time 1985.

In all of these times the same people are there and each of the Gretas try to fix what they believe is wrong in each era.

I love the concept of this book and the idea to use the cycling time travel as a device to explore issues.  But one main factor felt wrong to me and the whole book rang a bit hollow to me.  In the book I am suppose to believe that Greta and Nathan in 1985 are so very much in love.  I never bought into that and I think it made me miss the emotion the author was trying to evoke.  Also I struggled with the need for Greta to out her brother in his past lives, that if he was just able to be with his 1985 soul mate he would be freed and happy.  Even if she felt this way, I think she was destructive and short-sided on history.  It is not that easy to erase the struggle of homosexuals in the past.  Should they have had to of lived a closeted a fearful life?  Absolutely not, but I can't go back and change it.  Even in her time, 1985, it was not easy to be gay....easier, but no picnic.

So in the end, yes I was engaged in the reading of the book and wanted to see where it went, but ultimately I wanted it ti go somewhere else and that dissapointed me a bit.  I thought I had found a new author who likes to play with time and its effects (He also wrote Max Tivoli) but in the end he does not hit my emotional sweet spot.  I am a bit let down.

Book 75: Zebra Forest by Adina Rishe Gewirtz

I selected this book for a Mother-Daughter book club selection.  I think it is a good book for such a read.

Zebra Forest is about a sister and brother who know next to nothing about their parents.  They only know that Mom abandoned them and that Dad was dead.  Gran has moved them to a new area and is acting strange and using a different name.  One day an escapee from the neighboring prison finds his way into the home and family secrets are revealed.

This is not a light book.  Like To Kill a Mockingbird, Zebra Forest does not shy away from larger uglier parts of life.  The book does not talk down to children.  Audrey has not yet read this, so I can't say how she is going to respond, but it is a book that I very much got into reading.  I do recommend this book.

Abandoned Book 6: MWF seeking BFF.......By Rachel Bertsche

I was super excited to read this one.  A story about a girl who moves to a new town and is on a mission to find new friends.  This book is more of a memoir than fiction.  I got about half way through and realized the book was getting into a pattern and that I just couldn't care about the authors problems.  We are just different types of people.

Jul 6, 2015

Book 74: The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig

After having such a bang up start in the beginning of the year on the amount I reading, I seem to have hit a lull.  I would start books, and not finish them, but decided that eventually I will go back to them.  I just didn't seem to be able to get into meatier books.  I also was reading a lot more on the internet on MBTI and getting comfortable with it.  So considering all of that I decided to pick up something that probably wasn't going to blow me away and be more plot based and see how I did with it.  That is how I started reading The Fire Sermon.

The Fire Sermon is a book set 400 years in the future after a blast had wiped out much of Earth (So I assume it was Earth, it could have been another planet?).  In this future a mutation has occured and all births are born as twins, with a perfect twin (the alpha) and the deformed lesser twin (the omega).  This book is just part one of the Triolgy, so there was a lot of world building going on.  Truthfully (I am sure I have said this before) I am not a fan of the modern dystopian trilogy.  I find them stretch thin, so they can fill 3 books.  I think the concepts would be more impactful if they were written in one shorter book.  Anyways.  The Fire Sermon fits in with the YA, dystopian novels that are out there.  It is no better or no worse than the others.  I am waiting to see what the second book brings before I can say more.

On a more personal level...It did seem to get me out of my reading rut.  I have already completed 2 more books and looking forward to getting started on another.

Jul 4, 2015

Book 73: Wonder by R J Palacio

Wonder by RJ Palacio. 

My daughter's 5th grade class was assigned this book, and it is a book I have been seeing around and I was interested.  Wonder is the story of a boy with a facial deformity who is attending public school for the first time (middle school).  The story is told from the perspectives of his family and classmates which gives an extra dimension to how the story is told.  At times the story can be hard to read, it broke my heart.  I also found the author was trying to be as true to teens and how they would react as best he could. 

Definitely a book that should be read, and I am glad my daughters class had this assignment.

Jul 2, 2015

Book 72: The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Green

The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Green is a story of a man who is born in the body of an old man and ages backwards towards his infancy and death.

Ok, I am sure I cannot hide that fact that this book is similar in concept to Benjamin Button.  And I am sure you are guessing that is the reason I picked up this title, and you would be right.  I hate to say I did keep comparing the tales, and that is not fair.  They are books written in different formats (short story vs. novel) written in different centuries (1920's vs. 2010's) and written to explore different relationships (father-sons vs. love) and I try to keep them separate.

The moving factor in Max Tivoli is the relationship Max has with Alice.  He first meets her when she is a young girl and he seemingly is an old man, even though he is her age.  This connection he has is the his main life string.  He crosses her path again when they seem to be the same age, and then again when she is older and he is a child.  It is a fascinating concept and one that I think can be perfected.

I struggle with being able to say what didn't work for me.   Not that the book was a stinker, I was just looking for more emotion to be pulled from me, which is such a crappy thing to say, because it is subjective.  I would recommend this book, and be interested to know how others felt after reading it.  Then I would have them read Benjamin Button (not the movie).

Jul 1, 2015

Book 71: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, a Newbury Award winner,  is a book written by a Chinese American and honors the Chinese fable style of story telling.  It is a tale of a young girl who sets off on a journey to lessen the hardships of her parents.  On the journey she learns many lessons, lessons she did not know she needed.  In some ways it reminds me of the Wizard of Oz.  

It is a great book for sharing with your children.  I enjoyed that it is multi-cultural, positive and creative in its telling of a story.  The book also has some questions for discussion already in the back of the book to help prompt dialog.