Tuesday, July 31, 2007
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini is the amazing story of two women living in Afghanistan. The book spans thirty years and takes you through the actual history of Afghanistan. From the Soviet invasion through the American overthrow of the Taliban, these two women, who are so different, find themselves together in a unique relationship. This is Hosseini's second novel. His first novel, The Kite Runner, was also amazing, but this one served as a beautiful, hopeful follow-up that really touched my heart. Read this book if you want to learn a lot about Afghanistan, if you love reading about human nature, or if you simply love the beauty of language. I give it a 10 out of 10.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Pretties by Scott Westerfeld is the second book in the Uglies trilogy. In a world where everyone goes under the knife on their sixteenth birthday in order to be beautiful, Tally seems to be conflicted about her new pretty world. Some of the same characters return from the original book, but there are new characters as well. Fans of the first book might be a tad bit disappointed by the events in this book, but the same themes remain. Tally's journey keeps the reader engaged. The ideas about a future world are thought provoking: what if we all did look the same? What if our world was controlled enough to eliminate disease and destruction? And what would we do if faced with the challenge of fighting such a mighty authority? Read this book if you liked the first one, if you are interested in utopia novels, or if you want to be up on the latest young adult favorites. I give it a 7.5 out of 10.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares is a young adult fiction novel about four teenage girls who have been best friends since birth. The novel takes place during the first summer that they spend apart. A special pair of jeans comes into their lives, and they decide to send the pants between each other all summer long. What I liked about this book was that it falls into the chick lit genre without being over the top. This book will definitely be in my classroom library. If you've seen the film, don't judge the book. The book was much better. Read this book if you love chick lit, if you saw the movie and want to read the much better version, or if you remember growing up with a group of close-knit girlfriends. I give it a 7 out of 10.
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris is a memoir (I love memoirs) written as short stories. Sedaris is generally known as the hilarious author who discusses the incidents in his life that make his readers laugh out loud while reading. I chose this book earlier in the year because David Sedaris was coming to Anchorage. If I bought one of his new books at Title Wave Books I was entered into a contest to win free tickets. Needless to say I didn't win. However, I did enjoy this book of short stories that I read while we were camping this summer. It was nice to be able to pick up the book, read one story, and then put it down again. I didn't have to worry about continuity or remembering plotlines. I didn't find it as funny as everyone else seems to find it. My favorite story was titled "Big Boy" and told of an unfortunate incident in the bathroom of a dinner party. I laughed so hard I had to read it to my husband. Read this book if you love to laugh, if short stories capture your attention, or if you have family members that won't mind you interrupting their day in order for you to read them a line or two aloud. I give it a 7.5 out of 10.
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is a love story with a twist. The love story mingles with science fiction because Henry is a time traveler. But, not in the way we normally think. It's not his job. It's not his invention. It's more of a genetic defect. However, his destiny with Clare is clear. The novel traces the love story between Henry and Clare and all the obstacles that come with a man who can suddenly disappear at any time. I'm usually not a fan of love stories, but this one was so interesting that I couldn't put it down. I was told it was a tear-jerker, and I honestly didn't cry although I could see why others have. Read it if you are a sucker for a good love story, if time travel interests you, or if you love reading a story told from the perspective of two different people (Clare and Henry take turns narrating). I give it an 8 out of 10.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is a memoir written about a year of travelling through Italy, India, and Indonesia. Gilbert was divorced in her thirties and decided to take a trip to "find herself" so to speak. In Italy she studied pleasure. For her, this meant eating fine Italian food and learning to speak Italian...just for fun. In India she studied devotion while staying at an Ashram. Finally, in Indonesia she studied balance. She wanted to learn how to balance pleasure and devotion in her life. I love the way this book is organized and found it much more touching than I originally thought it would be. I'm not spiritual at all, but somehow this book spoke to my heart. Read this book if you're a woman, if you're interested in travel, or even if you just want to read a great story about someone finding out how to live life on her own terms. I give it an 8 out of 10.