Thursday, October 26, 2006

Book Review II

A while back I wrote my nerdy book reviews from the books that I've read from January through June. Well, I'm back with more inept reviews of the books I've read June through, let's say October (although I may finish one more, we'll see...)

Chesapeake by James Michener
This book intrigued me because my boss (an avid reader) told me of the epic-quality of the story and how much research Michener did when writing. I am a geek for history, learning things, and books that have a lot of research. I like to (sometimes) feel like I'm learning something while reading fiction. This fit the niche perfectly. I enjoyed reading this (although it took me 2 months!!! egads!)book however, I missed knowing characters in a more intimate fashion. Sure, I learned what happened on this particular bay on the North American Continent from early native american tribes to present (well, the 70's) day but I missed the details of relationships, the moments of clarity as an object or meal was described to me, I MISSED the characters. I would read Michener again...I think I know have a little bit better understanding of what to expect.

Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan
Remember when I said I sometimes get & read books from my book club because I've forgotten to send the card back and once I have a new book in my hand it is extremely difficult for me to not read it? This was one of those. My first Amy Tan book and I enjoyed hearing her voice. This is an interesting read as it's narrator is telling the story from "the other side" but it was fun, and quirky and meandered it's way through Asia and into a story that was at times silly, at times tragic but overall very enjoyable. I do plan on reading some of her other novels.

Best Friends by Martha Moody
This one was a gift to me from friend! Told in a interrupted & disjointed (at times) narrative, I enjoyed letting this story unfold before me. Definitely not the usual narrative, the flashbacks and jumps ahead only brought more weight to the story that developed. The friendship in this book is not like my friend and I's friendship yet there are moments when Ms. Moody strikes a chord about female friendships & the journey over the years that I found particularly poignant. This was a pretty quick & easy read.

Summer Crossing by Truman Capote
I have been intrigued for some time by Mr. Capote and "keep meaning" to read In Cold Blood (it's on my reading list!) so when I got this one from my book club I of course had to read it. Well, I didn't like it. I didn't care about the characters, I didn't think that their "dramas" were very important and I found it to come off as arrogant. I believe this was Capote's first (or early at least) works and it's probably not what he developed into but it didn't thrill me in the least. I am still going to read In Cold Blood however.

Selkirk's Island by by Diana Souhami
I was so excited when I (accidentally received this book from my book club because of the whole card thing...ahem...) got this book! A dessert island! History! Pirates! I couldn't wait to read about the real Robinson Crusoe (oops - I had forgotten that I was thinking of the Swiss Family Robinson from my 1979 visit to DisneyWorld but still). I still was interested. This book was good! I enjoyed the stories of life aboard the merchant vessels in the early 1700's (scary scary scary) and of COURSE I liked hearing about Crusoe's survival for 4 years on a "desert island" after being 'marooned' there by his captain. Unfortunately this book DID NOT have enough detail for me! It deals a lot with the voyages prior to his marooning and after but not so much the marooning itself! I found that to be disappointing. I liked this book, but wanted much, much more.

My Antonia by Willa Cather
Peder asked if anyone wanted to read a "great American classic" with him and since I'm always game for American classics & trying desperately to join a book club I said SURE! I just finished this last night. I'm embarrassed to say it took me much longer to read than it should have. But I did get married & have a world premiere of my feature film in the meantime so please, cut me some slack. Oh and I refinished my hardwood floors too. I liked this book. I really really liked it. But it did not hit me WHAM like a pinnacle of American literature! I thought it was "pleasant." I enjoyed the characters and Cather's style of describing everything with exquisite detail and I have to agree with Peder when he says it reminds him of the
Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It was easy to read and I felt that I got to take a peek inside life in a small Nebraska town but it did not blow my mind.

So there you have it! I am all caught up. My goal of 12 books this year has been reached and I'm hoping to add 3 or 4 more to my list by time 2006 sputters out. Right now I am reading a travel memoir entitled Avoiding Prison and Other Noble Vacation Goals and I have a feeling I'm going to want to be traipsing across Latin America or Europe very very soon.

Happy Reading!


-Peder said...

I was hoping for more from 'My Antonia' too. Oh well. Hope the next one is better.
BTW, have you ever read 'The Life of Pi'?

carrster said...

I have not read 'The Life of Pi' but it IS on my ginormous reading list. :) I heard about it from Heather G. actually.

-Peder said...

Sarah and I both read it last year and enjoyed it quite a bit.

Leah said...

While cleaning out my bookshelves this week, I realized I had three copies of "My Antonia." And totally deserved too; I freaking love that book. Top 5, easy. I'm glad you at least found it "pleasant." :)

carrster said...

Pleasant is good! I really liked it I just think I had different expectations!

btw, I also had a copy hidden away on my bookshelf...the one I read i got from the library - doh! What an idiot.

Sherry said...

Hi! i happened upon your blog and wanted to invite you to add this post to my Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. I think I might add Selkirk's Island to my TBR list.