Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Storyteller

The StorytellerThe Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bravo! Bravo! PIcoult integrated and intertwined the characters lives in only a way that she can. Completely and utterly incredible. The stories from the Holocaust serve as a reminder of the brutality and the cruelty of genocide. It's an absolutely heart breaking and warming book.

View all my reviews Book Description Release date: February 26, 2013 Some stories live forever . . . Sage Singer is a baker. She works through the night, preparing the day’s breads and pastries, trying to escape a reality of loneliness, bad memories, and the shadow of her mother’s death. When Josef Weber, an elderly man in Sage’s grief support group, begins stopping by the bakery, they strike up an unlikely friendship. Despite their differences, they see in each other the hidden scars that others can’t, and they become companions. Everything changes on the day that Josef confesses a long-buried and shameful secret—one that nobody else in town would ever suspect—and asks Sage for an extraordinary favor. If she says yes, she faces not only moral repercussions, but potentially legal ones as well. With her own identity suddenly challenged, and the integrity of the closest friend she’s ever had clouded, Sage begins to question the assumptions and expectations she’s made about her life and her family. When does a moral choice become a moral imperative? And where does one draw the line between punishment and justice, forgiveness and mercy?

32 Candles

32 Candles32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this in one day - one sitting. Grant it - it was Saturday football. So the house is still and the boys are preoccupied, but it was absolutely delicious. Really funny, quirky, and romantic. I didn't always agree with Davie, but I found myself voting for her the whole time.

View all my reviews Book Description Release date: June 22, 2010 32 Candles is the slightly twisted, utterly romantic, and deftly wry story of Davie Jones, who, if she doesn’t stand in her own way, just might get the man of her dreams. Davie—an ugly duckling growing up in small-town Mississippi—is positive her life couldn’t be any worse. She has the meanest mother in the South, possibly the world, and on top of that, she’s pretty sure she’s ugly. Just when she’s resigned herself to her fate, she sees a movie that will change her life—Sixteen Candles. But in her case, life doesn’t imitate art. Tormented endlessly in school with the nickname "Monkey Night," and hopelessly in unrequited love with a handsome football player, James Farrell, Davie finds that it is bittersweet to dream of Molly Ringwald endings. When a cruel school prank goes too far, Davie leaves the life she knows and reinvents herself in the glittery world of Hollywood—as a beautiful and successful lounge singer in a swanky nightclub.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Book twenty-eight, 29, thirty, 31... Reading on Christmas.

I didn't get my 35 books this year. Wish I could include student work in my list - fo'sho.

I didn't get to White Teeth...or get through it. I should say.

But I did read - teen fiction.


"Things Hoped For"

Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth

Then Again, Maybe I Won't

Quick book reviews coming for these books in 2013. I am going to try to finish one more "pleasure" read in the next five days - I will add the book review soon :) 

Merry Christmas! 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Forced Read: White Teeth

I am such a distant fan of Zadie Smith. I love reading articles that she is in - I love her style and the idea of her. That said, I have  no read one of her pieces of work. It's time that I jump in. For the past few years - possible over five - I have picked up her novel, I put it down. Something in the description doesn't pull me in. But during this book challenge - I also want to challenge myself to read different things. I have not been good at straying from my old faithfuls. But today, I will start. Here goes nothing. Pray for me Saints. I am about to read "White Teeth."

Book Description:  

Zadie Smith’s dazzling debut caught critics grasping for comparisons and deciding on everyone from Charles Dickens to Salman Rushdie to John Irving and Martin Amis. But the truth is that Zadie Smith’s voice is remarkably, fluently, and altogether wonderfully her own.

At the center of this invigorating novel are two unlikely friends, Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal. Hapless veterans of World War II, Archie and Samad and their families become agents of England’s irrevocable transformation. A second marriage to Clara Bowden, a beautiful, albeit tooth-challenged, Jamaican half his age, quite literally gives Archie a second lease on life, and produces Irie, a knowing child whose personality doesn’t quite match her name (Jamaican for “no problem”). Samad’s late-in-life arranged marriage (he had to wait for his bride to be born), produces twin sons whose separate paths confound Iqbal’s every effort to direct them, and a renewed, if selective, submission to his Islamic faith. Set against London’s racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire and into the past as it barrels toward the future, White Teeth revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life, flirting with disaster, confounding expectations, and embracing the comedy of daily existence.

Recommended Read: Slave.

I read this in college and cannot forget it.

Book Description:
Mende Nazer lost her childhood at age twelve, when she was sold into slavery. It all began one horrific night in 1993, when Arab raiders swept through her Nuba village, murdering the adults and rounding up thirty-one children, including Mende.

Mende was sold to a wealthy Arab family who lived in Sudan's capital city, Khartoum. So began her dark years of enslavement. Her Arab owners called her "Yebit," or "black slave." She called them "master." She was subjected to appalling physical, sexual, and mental abuse. She slept in a shed and ate the family leftovers like a dog. She had no rights, no freedom, and no life of her own.

Normally, Mende's story never would have come to light. But seven years after she was seized and sold into slavery, she was sent to work for another master—a diplomat working in the United Kingdom. In London, she managed to make contact with other Sudanese, who took pity on her. In September 2000, she made a dramatic break for freedom.

Slave is a story almost beyond belief. It depicts the strength and dignity of the Nuba tribe. It recounts the savage way in which the Nuba and their ancient culture are being destroyed by a secret modern-day trade in slaves. Most of all, it is a remarkable testimony to one young woman's unbreakable spirit and tremendous courage.

Book 27: Sold

Incredible. Absolutely Incredible. This book is broadcast as a teen book - it's already won so many literature awards. I read it in one sitting - it was incredible. I know that I have said "incredible" three - technically four times - but I cannot help it. This book kept me in it's tight grasp the entire time that I read it.  I literally could not put it down. It reminded me slightly of The House on Mango Street. A book that dealt with such strong subjects, but sent through a child's eyes and through a child's perspective. There were moments where I literally held my breath. I didn't know that I was holding my breath until - I felt myself start reading. I literally read it on the subway station while I went from bourough to bourough to visit my girlfriends. All this to say, I couldn't stop reading this book. I found myself in a place where I literally didn't want it to be over. I kept trying to think of ways that I could savor the book, but I couldn't sit for two seconds on the train without needing to open the book and find out what is happening to the ladies, the ordinary boy, the tea boy, and the American.

Book Description

Lakshmi is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. Though she is desperately poor, her life is full of simple pleasures, like playing hopscotch with her best friend from school, and having her mother brush her hair by the light of an oil lamp. But when the harsh Himalayan monsoons wash away all that remains of the family’s crops, Lakshmi’s stepfather says she must leave home and take a job to support her family.

He introduces her to a glamorous stranger who tells her she will find her a job as a maid in the city. Glad to be able to help, Lakshmi journeys to India and arrives at “Happiness House” full of hope. But she soon learns the unthinkable truth: she has been sold into prostitution. An old woman named Mumtaz rules the brothel with cruelty and cunning. She tells Lakshmi that she is trapped there until she can pay off her family’s debt—then cheats Lakshmi of her meager earnings so that she can never leave. Lakshmi’s life becomes a nightmare from which she cannot escape.

Still, she lives by her mother’s words—Simply to endure is to triumph—and gradually, she forms friendships with the other girls that enable her to survive in this terrifying new world. Then the day comes when she must make a decision—will she risk everything for a chance to reclaim her life? Written in spare and evocative vignettes, this powerful novel renders a world that is as unimaginable as it is real, and a girl who not only survives but triumphs.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Twenty-Six: Home Again

Home Again is written by Kristin Hannah - the same writer that wrote Firefly Lane! I loved Firefly Lane. So, this book was good - just too similar to Firefly Lane. My advice - both books are good-  read one or the other.  You will get an incredibly interesting read either way.  So, I don't really feel like writing - so I'm going to keep it at this. I am going to tell my self that I will edit this...eventually. But I probably won't - as much as I love reading. I've realized through this project - I don't love writing about the books that I read. I do however like sharing the books that I've read. I have to figure out a a better way of posting the books with my opinions. I think, I may just say "good" or "bad" - not sure....

Either way, this is a good book. Hope you enjoy!

Reminds me of one of my favorite songs right now by Michael Kiwanuka.... it's a great song for Hurricane reading...

Overview: At the center of Home Again is Madelaine, a brilliant cardiologist, a loving mother, a tender friend, a woman full of self-doubt. It is the story of her daughter, Lina, a confused and angry rebel and of the two very different men Madelaine loves: Francis, a priest searching for his faith, and Angel, a talented, but cynical man. When tragedy brings them together again, they must learn to forgive the betrayals of the past and find the courage to love again. Touching and inspiring, it is also a story of modern-day miracles, medical, and, perhaps, those not of this world.