Wednesday, May 6, 2009
The Hours by Michael Cunningham follows the lives of three women during three different time periods. In 1920s London, Virginia Woolf begins thinking about writing her later famous novel Mrs. Dalloway. In 1949 Los Angeles, Laura Brown reads the novel while trying to come to terms with her suburban life that she can't seem to settle into. In present day New York, Clarissa Vaughan is planning a party for a dear friend. The book starts a little slow, but picks up when you want to discover how these three women are connected. Laura Brown's story, for me, was the most intriguing, but the end of the book really tied up loose ends that might have left me wondering. Read this book if you like books about women, if you like interconnected narratives, or if you're interested in books that are turning into films. I give it an 9 out of 10.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Twelve by Nick McDonell is a strange trip into the world of teenage drugs and sex in New York. The book is a series of narratives that follow characters that eventually end up connecting in an interesting way. The book reads quick and mostly follows White Mike, a clean drug dealing teen who experiences a lot in the few days that the book takes place. Read this book if you like quick reads, if you're interested in rough teen stories, or if you want a shock. I give it a 7.5 out of 10.
Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire is a retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. It takes place in 16th century Tuscany and follows a loose historical reference to a family named Borgia. Bianca serves as Snow White, a beautiful girl who is left along on her father's estate when he is asked to go on an impossible mission for the Borgia family. The Borgia sister soon becomes jealous of Bianca and asks a hunter to kill her. The basic story of Snow White is here, but the history and the strange magical dwarves tend to bog the story down. Definitely not as good as Wicked. Read this book if you like retold fairy tales, if you're interested in historical fiction, or if you like strange stories. I give it a 7 out of 10.
The Soloist by Steve Lopez is his memoir of his times with Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless man who has an amazing musical talent. Lopez is a columnist for the LA Times when he meets Ayers playing a broken violin on the streets of LA. Ayers pushes a full shopping cart around LA and practices his violin when he can. After some research, Lopez discovers that Ayers was a student at Juliard before being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Lopez begins a friendship with Ayers which is challenging and difficult most of the time, but very rewarding as well. Read this book if you like memoirs, if you like stories of friendship, or if you're interested in the film. I give it an 8 out of 10.