Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Help, Kathryn Stockett

The Help

By Kathryn Stockett

The Help is a story of Black maids in Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960's and their white employers. It follows Aibileen and Minny, two maids and Skeeter, a white college graduate intent on starting her writing career and writing about something close to her heart. 

I was very moved by The Help. It is a quick read for it's 450 pages. Each of the three main characters stories is so different that it is really lovely to see them come together like they do. It's easy for someone like myself to have never really thought much on the civil rights movement, as i was not alive when it was happening and don't really see repercussions from it where i live but this book really opened my eyes to the terrible standard of living facing African Americans in the south in the 1960's. It was embarrassing to see full grown women throwing fits about bathrooms and not willing to take care of their children, but these women became the perfect society villains. 

The Help is really an inspiring story. I highly recommend it. 

Friday, January 22, 2010

Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction

Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction
J.D. Salinger

Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction are both short stories about the Glass family, the first being about Seymour Glass's failed Wedding and the second being his brother, Buddy's description. 

There isn't anything special about either of these stories. If you're a fan of Salinger's other work you'll probably be disappointed. There is a lot of unnecessary rambling, mostly in Seymour. Both stories do give insight into the Glass family, but other than that they are dry and dull.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak

The Book Thief, which is narrated by Death, is the story of Liesel as she lives goes to live with her foster family just prior to and during World War II. The story centers around Liesel learning to read, making friends, growing up, and dealing with the effect World War II has on her foster family in friends. She is a girl who lives through nothing but tragedy but still has an open heart and clear head on her shoulders, well, at least most of the time. 

After hearing so much about The Book Thief over the past year I decided I could not put off reading it any longer. I was completely blown away by this exquisite novel. I went in expecting something very YA, but still enjoyable and was surprised by how mature everything was. Death as the narrator gives insight into characters and situations that would be impossible to disclose otherwise, as well as keeping the overall mood of the book somber as he is always reminding the reader of the impending doom that Liesel's family and friend will face. 

I think every book lover can relate to Liesel, not in a suffering in Nazi Germany way, but in a word transporting way. Her books are the most important things she owns, they are gifts from family, made by friends and stolen from fires and private library's. 

In short, I loved this book, I'm sure many of you have already read it and had similar feelings. Thanks to everyone who was raving about it in their end of year posts or actual one on one recommendations

My Rating:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Nine Stories by J.D. Sallinger

Nine Stories
By J.D. Salinger

I'm not quite sure how to go about this 'review' and i use the word review loosely in this situation.

Nine Stories is composed of nine short stories, several of which are written about (or by) members of the Glass Family. The most notable of the short stories are A Perfect Day for Bannanafish, For Esme - With Love and Squalor and Teddy. When i was reading Catcher in the Rye, and later Franny and Zooey late last year I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved Salinger, having never read him in high school or my prior years in college so when I found myself at Barnes and Noble late last week searching for something to get me into the reading groove for this year I found Nine Stories and Raise High the Roof Beams, Carpenter and Seymour and Introduction.

I am in love with the tragic beauty of the Glass family, and i think that that in part is what makes Nine Stories so easily digestible. If you're like me and loved Franny and Zooey, the rest of the family probably seemed just as stories worthy to you as the aforementioned title characters,  so finding out more about them, like Boo Boo, Walt, and of course the infamous Seymour would be a must. the stories that don't relate directly to the Glass family actually happened to be some of my favorites, For Esme and Uncle Wiggly really stood out to me.

I guess what I am trying to say with this train wreck is that I personally loved these stories and see why Salinger is still being talked about today.

Monday, January 4, 2010

People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks

People of the Book
Geraldine Brooks

Hanna Heath is an Australian that has been given the chance of a lifetime. An opurtunity to work on the Sarajevo Haggadah. Her discovery's lead to the reader learning the complete history of the Haggadah along the way, as well as learning more about Hanna's own history. 

People of the Book is masterfully written. Brooks molds her style to each era she writes about, making these odd historical occurrences as clear as can be. Hanna is an interesting character, full of personal demons and a desire to her the things books can tell her. The supporting characters are less interesting and often short lived, but they all serve their purpose. 

Some of the books back stories are much longer than necessary and  often times I found myself wishing those sections were over, or that there was an abridged version i could skim instead. The "mystery" at the end was unnessisary but didn't ruin the rest of the novel. 

Overall a decent read, but a little long winded. 

My Rateing