Saturday, December 27, 2008

Life of Pi

Life of Pi by Yann Martel is the story of a young man from India, Pi who finds himself in a lifeboat in the Atlantic Ocean with only a tiger as a companion. When Pi's zookeeper father decides to move to Canada, the whole family finds themselves on a Japanese cargo ship with the animals they are selling to American zoos. When the cargo ship sinks, Pi finds himself alone on a lifeboat save a few animals who happened to swim aboard. Eventually, the only two remaining are Pi and a male tiger. Pi must learn not only how to survive while being lost at see, but how to master a tiger so as not to be eaten himself. Another interesting component to the story is that Pi considers himself a Christian, a Hindu, and a Muslim. He has many thoughts about God and religion that anchor his survival in difficult times. A few times the narrative can be monotonous as Pi explains what he exactly he has to do to survive. Read this book if you like stories steeped in thought, if you enjoy survival stories, or if you're interested in knowing if Pi survives and how. I give it a 7.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Son of a Witch

Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire is the second book in The Wicked Years. After the Wicked Witch of the West was killed by Dorothy's accident at her castle, Liir is left behind wondering if Elphaba was truly his mother of if he is destined to never know who his parents were.  Several years later he is found alone, practically dead by a traveling party and is returned to the Mauntery where he was born. Unconscious and unaware of his surroundings, Liir is put into the care of a young novice who barely speaks but beautifully plays a strange instrument. As she plays for him, he relives the memories of his life from the day of the witch's fateful death to his injury that led him to this point. As more of Liir's life is revealed, the politics and religious tensions of Oz are brought forward. This wonderful second book in the series brings up more questions for the reader. Is fate a real force? Does our upbringing or our parentage matter in who we will become? What is identity and what decides it? Is there really a purpose in trying? This book was a fantastic follow up to Wicked and made me want to pick up the third, A Lion Among Men. Read this book if you read Wicked, if you love retold stories, or if you love a book that makes you think and leaves you wanting more. I give it a 9 out of 10.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Wicked by Gregory Maguire is the story of The Wicked Witch of the West. The story begins on the day Elphaba is born to a Unionist minister and a once heiress to the seat of Eminent Thropp of Munchkinland. Elphaba was cursed from the beginning as she was born with green skin. The story follows Elphaba's life as her family grows, adding a sister and a brother, and then shrinks, losing a mother. Elphaba enters college an outcast, but soon develops a passion for the understanding and rights of Animals, animals that have the power of thought and speech. Once she begins to understand that the Wizard of Oz has some dark plans for Animals, and eventually all of Oz, she takes on a mission against the man and his absolute power. Looking into this life of a well-known literary character beyond the surface of what we've been told about her begins to bring about deep, perhaps unanswerable, questions. What is good? What is evil? Who should have power? Who is right? Who is wrong? Are there really only the good guys and the bad guys? This book has taken a beloved children's story and turned it's history into a thought-provoking adult literary jewel.  Read this book if you're interested in questions about good and evil, if you like retellings of classics, or if you enjoyed The Wizard of Oz and want to learn more. I give it a 9.5 out of 10.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Looking Glass Wars: Seeing Redd

The Looking Glass Wars: Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor is the second book in his trilogy chronicling the true story of Alice in Wonderland.  In this book, Alyss has returned to power as the Queen of Wonderland after defeating her evil aunt, Redd Heart. Redd's whereabouts are unknown, but some suspect that she is somewhere on earth after travelling through the Heart Crystal.  When forces begin an attack on Wonderland, many believe Redd is back. However, could it be that forces within the Wondernations are conspiring against Alyss? What about the mysterious King Arch who rules over Boarderland who has always hated the way women rule Wonderland? Or is Redd really back, ready to regain the thrown that she thinks she deserves? As Alyss and her forces unite against an unknown enemy, relationships between family members and lovers are revealed and put to the test. This book was definitely slower than the first one. I had a very difficult time getting through the first half of the book where background stories of several characters are being laid out. Read this book if you read the first, if you're interested in fantasy, or if you enjoy fractured fairy tales. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Extras by Scott Westerfeld is the fourth book, and I believe final book, in his Uglies series. A new main character is introduced, Aya, who now lives in a world where your status in society depends on your popularity. One way to become very popular is to "kick" a new and interesting story on the city-wide feed. Aya thinks she has found her big story when she catches some mysterious girls doing dangerous tricks, but as she digs further, she realizes that there is a much larger story to tell that could potentially affect the future of the entire world. The book discusses several interesting issues, but the introduction of a new main character turns the series dull and pointless. He should have stopped at a trilogy. Read this book if you read the first three, if you like stories about an uncertain future, or if you want a quick read. I give it a 6.5 out of 10.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Twilight by Stephenie Meyer is the first book in the popular series of vampire novels about Bella and Edward. Bella is a junior in high school who moves to Forks, Washington to live with her dad. She meets a mysterious boy named Edward who is very different from anyone she has ever met. She notices that him and his siblings never eat, their eyes change color, they are very pale skinned, and they stay away from other students. However, Bella instantly falls in love with Edward, and once Edward begins talking to her, he falls in love with her as well. When Bella learns that Edward is a vampire, she must decide if her love is worth the risk. This book is very popular among teenagers and is a fast romantic read if not a bit cliche and cheesy. Read this book if you like romance novels, if you like books about vampires, or if you want to read the book before you watch the film. I give it  7 out of 10.

The Looking Glass Wars

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor is the first in a trilogy of the "true" story behind Alice in Wonderland. Alyss Heart is a princess in the land of Wonderland. When her evil Aunt Redd decided to take the thrown, Alyss' parents are murdered, and she must escape through a porthole to another world. Alyss ends up in Victorian Oxford, and must assimilate to her new life as an ordinary little girl. Alyss must forget the world that she came from to make her life easier in our world. As she continues to live her life, a royal guard from her land searches for her in order to bring her back to Wonderland to claim the thrown.  Meanwhile, in Wonderland, the citizens, thinking Alyss is dead, form an army to fight against Redd. The book is fast-paced and interesting as the readers learn what really happened to Alyss, not the horrible make-believe story written by Lewis Carroll. Read this book if you like fantasy, if you enjoy retold classic stories, or if you enjoy intense battles of good against evil. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Paper Towns

Paper Towns by John Green is Green's third young adult fiction novel. In this book, Q is a high school senior in love with his mysterious next door neighbor, Margo. When Margo takes him on an all night adventure of revenge on her enemies, he believes things will be completely different between the two both at home and at school. However, when Q returns to school the next day, he realizes Margo is missing. Margo remains missing, but Q and his friends pick up on a trail of clues seemingly left for him to discover where Margo has disappeared to. This book has several literary references and borders between mystery and emo. Read this book if you enjoyed An Abundance of Katherines and Looking for Alaska, if you like mysteries, or if you want to keep up on the latest teen fiction. I give it an 8.5 out of 10.

Nectar in a Sieve

Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya is a story told from the perspective of Rukmani, an Indian woman reflecting on her life. As a young woman, she was married to a poor farmer, a man she didn't even know.  He is a wonderful husband, however, and together they raise their children and work hard on the farm that they rent. Troubled times come to haunt the family with the onset of foreigners, floods, and drought.  Poverty leads to leaving, and starvation leads to death. The book comes full circle as Rukmani begins the story at the end and ends where she began. Read this book if you're interested in other countries and cultures, if you like stories about the bonds of love and family, or if you like to empathize with people in hard times. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ties that Bind, Ties that Break

Ties that Bind, Ties that Break by Lensey Namioka is a story about traditions being questioned.  The main tradition in this case is the practice of foot binding in China.  At a very young age, women in China were required to bind their feet by bending their toes down and wrapping them in bandages. As their feet tried to grow, the bones would be pressed together in order to create tiny, dainty looking feet that would fit into tiny, dainty shoes. This process cripples the young girls for life as they must learn how to hobble around on mutilated toes and feet. Ailin is a young girl who refuses to have her feet bound. As her father obeys her wishes, Ailin faces consequences that she could not have predicted. Her choice changes her life forever. Read this book if you're interested in historical fiction, if you like stories about traditions being questioned, or if you just want a quick, easy read to keep you occupied for a few hours. I give it an 8 out of 10.


Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner attempts to bring to light the answers to several strange questions in society. They define economics as the study of reality, and take several factors into consideration when answering questions such as "Why do crack dealers still live with their moms?" The answers to these questions are quite shocking considering the information, and the book is interesting to read because of this information. Read this book if you like the study of society, if you're interested in getting to know more about the way our society works, or if you like books that attempt to answer the strange questions in life. I give it an 7 out of 10.


Sold by Patricia McCormick is the story of Lakshmi, a thirteen-year-old Nepalese girl. Thinking that she is going to work in the city as a maid, Lakshmi is excited at the prospect of helping her poor family by sending home her income. She soon realizes, however, that she has been sold as a sex slave by her own stepfather, and the prospect of ever returning home is very dim. Lakshmi must undergo the terrible humiliation of becoming a prostitute at a young age which means learning how to become a different person. The book is written in a series of short verse rather than prose which makes the book easy and fast to read. Read this book if you want to learn about a terrible tragedy happening right now in our world, if you are interested in a short, easy to read book, or if you want to keep up on the current young adult fiction. I give it an 8.5 out of 10.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Mermaid Chair

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd is a novel of a married woman coming to terms with her self as an individual. She returns to her home on Egret Island, South Carolina when her mother begins to have a psychological meltdown. While there, she meets a monk she falls in love with, tries to determine what is bothering her mother, and connects with her past in a deeply spiritual and personal way. Read this book if you liked The Secret Life of Bees by the same author, if you like books about women searching for self, or if you want a fun, easy, romantic read. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is the story of Scout Finch and her family. Scout is growing up in the South in the 1930s with her brother, Jem, and her father, Atticus. Atticus is a lawyer who has taken on an extremely controversial case against a black man. Scout and Jem are caught up in the middle of the case while trying to have fun as kids. Meanwhile they are also attempting to discover their hermit neighbor, Boo Radley. Read this book if you love classic American literature, if you like a good law drama, or if you enjoy a mystery. I give it a 10 out of 10.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Prophet of Yonwood

The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau is the prequel to The City of Ember. It follows a girl named Nickie who travels to Yonwood, North Carolina with her aunt in order to sell her great-grandfather's large house. This town has recently had interesting events occurring including the vision of a prophet about a fiery future. The town now follows the prophet's mumblings as it attempts to create good in a world seemingly headed for disaster. This book is not nearly as good as the other two. It rambles on about disconnected events and stories that don't really add up until a final, last minute chapter that summarizes many years and tries to connect this story with the other Ember books. Read this book if you are reading the series, if you are interested in stories about blind faith, or if you are planning on reading the other two books and want to get the crappiest one out of the way first. I give it a 6 out of 10.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The People of Sparks

The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau is the sequel to The City of Ember. Lina and Doon await the arrival of the rest of the Emberites to the new place they have found. They then come upon a tiny town known as Sparks whose citizens are at first willing to help the Emberites at least until they are able to live on their own in a few months. However, as tensions rise between the two groups of people, war seems imminent, and it's possible that the horrors of humans that destroyed the world and the population years ago might rise again. Read this book if you want to know what happens after The City of Ember, if you're interested in questions about human relations, or if you just enjoy a good, short, easy-to-read book. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The City of Ember

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau is a novel about Lina and Doon, twelve-year-olds living in a city called Ember, a place that is lit by large lights all over the city. Ember seems to have fallen on some hard times, however, and blackouts are becoming more and more frequent. When this happens, pure blackness swallows all of Ember. No one has ever left Ember as the unknown regions are also full of complete darkness. Doon suspects that he might be able to help the city of Ember, and begins to search the generator that runs all of Ember's electricity. As times seem to be getting worse, Lina discovers a clue that might help them escape. Lina and Doon must work together in order to figure out how to save Ember before it's too late. Read this book if you like mysteries, if you're interested in novels that take place in a strange future, or if you enjoy book series. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is a dystopian novel about a woman who is stripped of her rights and her family when a powerful religious male-centered organization takes over the United States. Women are gathered up, re-educated, and assigned to positions in society. Offred's daughter is taken from her, and she is eventually assigned as a handmaid which means that she lives with a Commander and his wife. Her duties are to do the shopping and to become pregnant by the Commander in order to bear him and his wife a child. The birthrate has declined over the years, and this is he way the new government decides to take care of the problem. The novel is written from Offred's point of view as she details her daily life as a handmaid and the history of her own life that led her to this point. Learning about the society little-by-little through Offred's words is enticing and makes the book a page turner. Read this book if you enjoy dystopian novels, if you like novels written from the first-person perspective, or if you want to see what our society would be like without women's rights. I give it a 10 out of 10.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson is a strange tale set in the pre-Revolutionary colonies. Octavian is a young boy whose mother was a princess in Africa. They both now live in Boston among men constantly conducting experiments. Octavian has the finest of educations, and is a beautiful violin player. As the Revolutionary War approaches, Octavian becomes aware of his real purpose in this strange house with these strange men. Several turning of events take place throughout the book which change Octavian's circumstances and thoughts. The book is written in the form of letters and journal articles and all in the voice of pre-Revolutionary English which can make it difficult to follow. Read this book if you're interested in historical fiction, if you like books that are written in interesting prose, or if you like difficult books that have big vocabulary words. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dear Jane Austen: A Heroine's Guide to Life and Love

Dear Jane Austen by Patricia Hannon is a work of fiction in which Jane Austen answers "Dear Abby" like letters from her female fans. The book opens with Jane's running commentary on her day along with conversations with people who visit her. Between these conversations, she takes the time to answer questions from fans about what it means to be a woman in the twenty-first century in terms of love and life. Using examples from her famous novels, Jane explains that women should be independent. Honestly, I didn't even get past the first chapter of the book. I feel this book is meant more for people who are very familiar with Austen's novels. I've only read Pride and Prejudice many years ago. Therefore, the constant references to her stories and characters were more annoying and drawn out than inspiring and reminiscent. I had to put the book down, because it wasn't holding my attention one bit. Reading shouldn't feel like a chore. Perhaps I'll return to it one day after I've read more of Austen's novels. Read this book if you're familiar with Austen's works, if you're interested in biographical fiction, or if you are studying Austen in school. I give it a 3 out of 10.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The House of the Scorpion

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer is a young adult sci-fi novel about Matt, a young boy who finds out he's the clone of the wealthiest and most powerful drug lord in the world. El Patron runs an entire country called Opium which sits between the United States and what used to be Mexico. El Patron loves Matt, and, even though clones are usually treated as disgusting livestock, gives Matt a quality education and showers him with love. Matt later finds out the real purpose for his existence and struggles with what he shall do in order to escape his terrible destiny. Matt comes to realizations about the world, about people, and about himself. Read this book if you like sci-fi, if you enjoy coming of age novels, or if you're interested in books that might give you a scary glimpse of the future. I give it an 8 out of 10.

This Lullaby

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen is a teenage love story centered around newly graduated from high school Remy. She is so ready to tie up any loose ends at home the summer before she heads off to Stanford for college. This includes dumping her boyfriend, finish planning her mother's wedding, and spending time with her three best friends. While she gets all of this done, an unexpected "summer boyfriend" named Dexter comes along and screws with Remy's plans to leave her home without ever looking back. Remy's cynical take on relationships and love center around her mother's five failed marriages, and her father's only attempt to reach her through a sappy one hit wonder titled "This Lullaby." Remy must decide if her faith in love can be restored of if she can continue living her life as if she doesn't care. Read this book if you like chick lit, if you enjoy love stories, or if you're a sap for happy endings. I give it a 6.5 out of 10.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cry, the Beloved Country

Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton is set in South Africa during a politically difficult time for the "natives" as they are called by the white men in charge of the government and businesses. It's the story of Stephen Kumalo, a native priest, who goes on a journey to a "big city" to find his sister and his son both of whom have not written or returned from the alluring city. What he finds there is a broken system set on keeping the natives ignorant and poor while the white men make profits off their labor. The book follows Kumalo's discovery of his broken family and his broken country. When he finally returns, he sees the need to amend the tribal problems that have been growing for quite some time. This book is a slow read, but the characters grow in your heart and the words resonate with your thoughts. Read this book if you're interested in race relations, if you enjoy historical fiction, or if you have time to sit with a book for awhile. I give it an 8.5 out of 10.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson follows Melinda's first year in high school. The summer before this year, she attended a party where she eventually called the cops. This action made her lose all of her friends, and she now enters high school as a lonely, quiet girl. As the school year continues, Melinda shares her thoughts and feelings in her own words and begins to explain how and why she closes in on herself eventually choosing barely to speak at all. Soon Melinda shares why exactly she called the cops that night at the party, and the reader begins to acknowledge the pain that she has been through. Read this book if you like stories told by the main character, if you like young adult fiction, or if you like interesting female protagonists. I give it a 9 out of 10.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing

The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank is a sort of loose collection of short stories centering around the same character: Jane Rosenal. The stories begin with Jane as a teenager dealing with her family and her older brother's relationship. Other stories follow Jane's relationships with men, with friends, and with family members. Each story stands out on its own, but together they form an overarching story of Jane as a modern woman searching for who she is as a single woman, a career woman, a dating woman, a young woman, and a family woman. The only story that stands out is a story about Jane's neighbors where she does not even make an appearance. The story is warm, complicated, and endearing, but just doesn't seem to fit in this novel about an interesting woman who is just trying to survive in life. Read this book if you like chick flicks, if you like a book you can pick up and read small snippets from, or if you're interested in stories with complicated and real woman as the protagonist. I give it a 7.5 out of 10.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Rosie by Anne Lamott is a mother-daughter tale that illustrates the struggles and joys of young, single motherhood. Elizabeth and her daughter, Rosie, live near San Francisco. Elizabeth is a beautiful widow who is beginning to realize that she drinks too much and distances herself from others. Rosie is an energetic four-year-old wise beyond her years. Elizabeth and Rosie need each other in more ways than one, and their story is loving, tender, and sometimes even heartbreaking. Read this book if you like mother-daughter stories, if you like chick flicks that aren't trash, or if you enjoy a story that you can relate to. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Secret Life of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd is Lily's story. She is a fourteen-year-old girl growing up in 1950s South Carolina with no mother, a mean father, and a terrible guilt riding on her shoulders. When Rosaleen, her black nanny, finds herself in jail, Lily finds a way to free them both while searching for answers about her mother. Their search lands them on a beekeeping farm run by three sisters - August, June, and May. The sisters teach Lily more than she could have imagined including the mystery of the Black Mary, Jesus' mother. Lily knows she can never be the same, and neither will you. Read this book if you love strong women, if you like stories infused with a sense of time and place, or if you've heard about the filming and you want to read the book first. I give it a 9 out of 10.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Seven Daughters and Seven Sons

Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barbara Cohen and Bahija Lovejoy is a retelling of a classic Iraqi folktale passed down orally since the eleventh century. The story is about Buran, the daughter of a poor merchant who was "cursed" with having seven daughters. Buran's rich uncle, however, was blessed with having seven sons which means that they are able to go out into the world and successfully bring income back to the family. Buran decides to help her own family by disguising herself as a man and launching on a trip to become a successful merchant. While Buran predicted that she would be absolutely successful in business, she could not have guessed that she would fall in love. However many risks Buran has taken in her life to help her family, she is unwilling to risk losing her friend who could become her lover, so she returns to her family. Read this book if you're interested in classic folktales, if you like fairy tale elements, or if you're interested in Middle Eastern Culture. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Practical Magic

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman is the story of two sisters, Sally and Gillian Owen, who couldn't be more different. When the girls' parents die, the girls must move in with their strange aunts who live in a large, creepy house and meddle in the love lives of women in the town. Sally and Gillian grow up being taunted by the other children in the town for being strange and weird. Everything that goes wrong is always blamed on the Owens' girls. When they get older, spirited and carefree Gillian runs off with a man while practical and sensible Sally stays behind to raise a family. When Sally's husband dies, she takes her two daughters (also very different from each other) to New York in order to allow them to live a normal life. When something terribly wrong happens to her sister, everything that Sally has worked for in New York might be at risk. I picked up this book, because I loved the film so much. I would have to say that the film was better (for once) and the changing of verb tense in the book drove me a little insane (maybe just cause I'm an English major). All-in-all a fun, quick read. Read this book if you like magical realism, if you like stories about sisters, or if you're interested in a quick, fun read. I give it a 6.5 out of 10.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur

The Translator by Daoud Hari is the memoir of a translator for reporters traveling into Darfur. From Darfur himself, and a member of the same people that are being slaughtered in the genocide there, Hari experienced the destruction of his own village. Hari hauntingly describes the way people are being slaughtered simply because of who they are. Being educated and speaking three languages, Hari decided to become a translator and used his skills to help many people spread the story of what continues to happen in our world...the thoughtless slaughtering of innocent human beings. Hari's ultimate plea is to open your heart and do what you can to help, beginning with writing your government officials. Read this book if you're interested in world events, if you enjoy reading memoirs, or if you want to learn more about this horrible atrocity that is taking place right now. I give it a 10 out of 10.

Friday, February 8, 2008


Everlost by Neal Shusterman is a young adult novel about Nick and Allie, two teenagers who have died and found themselves in the mysterious land of Everlost. Everlost exists on the earth where they once lived, but there are strange rules that they must learn and live by. For example, if they stay in one place for too long, gravity will pull them to the center of the earth. Nick and Allie begin an adventure into this unknown world where nothing is quite what it seems. Read this book if you like science fiction, if you're interested in young adult literature, or if you want to go on an interesting adventure with complex characters. I give it a 7.5 out of 10.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Memoirs of a Geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden is the beautiful story of the life of a Japanese geisha, Sayuri. As the narrator of her own story, Sayuri shares her story as leads to the life of a geisha including all of the hardships, hopes, and happiness that can come along with that life. Sayuri's words are beautiful as she describes how she became a geisha, what it means to be a geisha, and what being a geisha has led her to. What is most surprising about this book is that the author is male and American but that he writes so vividly and accurately through the eyes of a woman in another time and place. In the end, you know Sayuri so well that you are rooting for her so profoundly that you almost wish she could hear your words of advice. Read this book if you want to learn about Japanese culture, if you like books that make you think, or if you love character studies. I give it a 9.5 out of 10.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne is the story of Bruno, a nine-year-old boy who lives in Berlin in the 1940s. Bruno's family has to move because of his father's job as a soldier, and Bruno is not too happy about it. At his new home, Bruno comes face-to-face with a mysterious fence that contains many people wearing the same striped pajamas. One day, Bruno meets a boy his age that lives on the other side of the fence. This story is heartbreaking in its portrayal of ultimate evil and ultimate innocence. You simply must pick it up if you want to know what happens next. Read this book if you are interested in the Holocaust, if you like stories told from a unique perspective, or if you have heard that they are making the film and want to read the book first. I give it a 9 out of 10.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon is the story of a 15-year-old boy, Christopher, in England who finds his neighbor's dog murdered in her yard and decides to investigate the murder. What makes this story a more than average mystery is that the young man is autistic and narrates the entire book. As a reader, you get to view the thoughts of a boy who has autism which means that the story is very interesting to read. Christopher knows all the prime numbers and therefore, labels the chapters with them. He hates yellow, so he knows that if he sees four yellow cars in a row, it's going to be a black day which means he won't eat or talk to anyone. Christopher's world is fascinating and engaging to the reader. Once you get to a certain point in the story, you won't want to put the book down. Read this book if you're interested in autism, if you like mysteries, or if you're interested in a book that's different but fascinating. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Trouble with Poetry

The Trouble with Poetry by Billy Collins is a collection of beautiful poems by the former U.S. Poet Laureate. Collins is definitely a "poet for the people." His poetry is simple and easy to understand but so beautiful and truthful all at the same time. This is a book you can pick up and read one poem from in order to get so much from a quick read. Read this book if you love poetry, if you don't understand poetry but want to, or if you love the beauty of language. I give it a 10 out of 10.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Alchemist

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is an amazing story about a young Spanish Shepherd who decides to pursue his own "Personal Legend." Along the way he meets people who help him learn lessons about listening to his heart and learning about the soul of the world. This book is highly spiritual but in a way I could connect with on a personal level. Coelho uses beautiful and simple language to portray the ultimate lesson that we all need to listen to our hearts in order to live life to the best of our abilities. Read this book if you like books about spirituality, if you enjoy reading about other cultures or other time periods, or if you want a quick read with deep meaning. I give it a 10 out of 10.