A BLOG ABOUT A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Books I read in August

Hello blog world! I decided to do a monthly post dedicated to the books I actually read each month, so I can share my views and recommendations (and keep myself inspired to keep those pages turning). Reading has been such an enjoyable part of my life since I was about 9 years old, and I hope to share my excitement with others. Remember, as always click on the picture of the book, and it will take you straight to Amazon where you can get great prices on books. Here we go! What I read in August:
My August books on top of my semester teaching schedule.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog
 The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

Recommended by: A birthday gift from the Price-Wood family

This is the story of a ritzy apartment building in Paris that a 12 year-old girl, Paloma, calls home, and a super introverted woman, Renee, knows as she building where she is a concierge. The place is a living hell for both Renee and Paloma, who are forced to share their worlds with the petty and annoyingly elitist people who live there. The book shifts between Renee's prospective and Paloma's journal entries, and this quietly plotted novel keeps readers waiting for something to happen, but the humorous insights are enjoyable on their own. Renee and Palmoa's lives both change unexpectedly with the arrival of a new tenant, in ways that are both happy and horrible. A realistic portrayal of what it means to struggle to find fulfillment, no matter what your background or circumstances.

The God of Small Things: A Novel

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

Recommended by: I picked this up at Half Price books because I've always wanted to read it

This is a beautiful, breathtaking, and heartbreaking story of an Indian family dealing with political turmoil in India in the late 1960s. It is a story about forbidden love in the face of political unrest...a story about misunderstandings and the odd ways that love functions and dysfunctions. The prose is lyrical and lovely, but the story is powerful and suspenseful, as it begins and builds up to a terrible tragedy. Though this book was only written in 1997, it has become a canonical piece of literature, and I fully understand why. This is a must read.
Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden


Recommended by: Brendan's mother, who told me she would "eat paper" if I didn't like it. Luckily, I did enjoy it, so she won't have to hold up that end of the bargain!

This  story about a young girl in Japan who is forced to train as a Geisha during the Great Depression had me completely spellbound from page one. Granted, because of a trick of Golden's, I thought I was reading an actual translated account (like Dave Edger's What is the What), but even after I figured out the "translator's note" was fictional, I still forgave Golden and read on for the stunning story (based on true stories) of an impoverished girl who must try to live her life with dignity despite being a literal piece of property, whose time, affection, and body is auctioned off to high bidders. The book is described as "part historical fiction and part fairy tale" and this seems apt, however, it certainly is a Grimm fairy tale (pun intended). Pick up a copy of this, it's a fast, enthralling read.

1,074 pages for August, not bad! I tried to tell Brendan that I had a "multi-cultural" theme going on for August, but he wasn't buying it, citing that multi-culturalism is vague and doesn't mean anything ...still, these books take place in France, India, and Japan...don't I get some credit for globalism? The books also are set in completely different time periods too (1930s-40s, 1960s-80s, present day) so I thought that was neat as well. My favorite part of reading is feeling like I'm in different places, so these picks accomplish that! How's that for a theme?

Happy reading!
<3 S, L&Z

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