Thursday, May 31, 2007

Book Review Extravaganza

I'm a little behind in my book reviews so I'm going to do some quicky and dirty "Spring Reading Thing" recaps right here. (like my reviews aren't ALWAYS quick and dirty, right?)

1. Grotesque by Natuso Kirino
I think I may have mentioned this in another post but here is the official review. This book reminded me a lot of WHAT WAS SHE THINKING? (the book that "Notes on a Scandal" was based on) The book revolves around two sisters and their classmates at an elite Japanese school. It begins with the murders of two of the girls as adults and the story is told from multiple perspectives. I thought it was going to be a mystery but really it is much more about envy and elitism and the pressures of Japanese society. Although it wasn't what I expected, I did find it really interesting, if a bit long at times. The ending left me hanging which I don't tend to enjoy but the characters were well-drawn and the story was compelling.

2. Lover of Unreason by Yehuda Koren

I read about this book in the NYT Book Review and had to read it. It is a biography of sorts about Assia Wevill, the woman who broke up Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. I had never even heard of Assia before. Evidently, Ted Hughes did his best to simply cover her up. The book brings Assia's story out into the light without excusing her behavior or making her a martyr. She was a fascinating woman who was truly a creation of her surroundings. It seems that I have always heard about Sylvia Plath's tragic story but I have never known about Assia and her own suicide. I got completely caught up in the book. Very interesting.

3. Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton

Hamilton's latest novel takes us into Kenya where an American librarian goes to help start a camel bookmobile to small local villages in a literacy effort. The book appealed to me because of its emphasis on the power of reading. But it isn't really about books. It is about the people whose lives are affected by those books. And not always in positive ways. The story is wonderful and I was disappointed when many of the plot lines where left hanging. It felt as if the book ended too abruptly. But maybe I just wanted it to keep going! Very well done!

1 comment:

Purl said...

A friend in college married Sylvia Plath's niece. Both of her kids came to the wedding as well as her mother. I didn't talk to the mother, but I had a long talk with Sylvia Plath's son. Somehow I was able to keep cool and not mention their mother.