Thursday, August 25, 2011

UnlessUnless by Carol Shields

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is beautifully written and deals with some serious topics. The main character is a 44 year old mother of 3 girls, one of whom is a bright college dropout who is essentially homeless and spending her days/months as mute, wearing a sign around her neck that says "Goodness" and panhandling on a Toronto street corner. Any $ or gifts she receives she promptly gives to the poor. It is also a story of a self analytical writer (the mother), writing about a writer, as she attempts to unravel not only the reasons behind her daughter's disturbed state but about herself and the place of women in an increasingly insensitive society. It has a happy conclusion. Shields is Pulitzer Prize winning author of "The Stone Diaries," which I loved. This book was published in 2002, shortly before her death from cancer.

View all my reviews
The Red PonyThe Red Pony by John Steinbeck

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wanted to love this, afterall it is Steinbeck. Audio version could have been better because it is read slowly, making the story drag, bordering boring. I'm certain I would have enjoyed it more and appreciated Steinbeck's considerable talent as a writer if I had read instead of listened to it.

View all my reviews
Brokeback Mountain. CDBrokeback Mountain. CD by Annie Proulx

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was a disturbing novella. It starts with a rape and ends sadly with what most of society would describe as destroyed lives. Actually, it doesn't "end;" it just stops. I felt like a voyeur and did not enjoy it, but I will remember it.

View all my reviews

Friday, August 19, 2011

2009 Book of the Year

Cutting for StoneCutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an absorbing family saga that moves from India to a mission hospital in Haile Selassie's Ethiopia, to an inner city hospital in NYC, and back to Ethiopia. The intersection between skillfully drawn plot and characters with accurate medical scenarios creates both a sense that the story is true and disappointment at the realization that it is not. If you read and liked The Kite Runner, this is even better and I highly recommend it. I listened to audio version which is particularly well done.

View all my reviews

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Man in the Rockefeller Suit

The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial ImposterThe Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Imposter by Mark Seal

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found this especially interesting beause part of this stranger-than-fiction real life true story took place in San Marino, the town in which I was raised, and because an incident related to his life was close to home. The man who calls himself Clark Rockefeler is currently in prison for abductng his little girl and has been charged with a murder that took place in the 1980's. His preliminary hearing for the murder trial is scheduled this week.

View all my reviews

Sometimes a Great Notion

Sometimes a Great Notion">Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a fantastic book, considered an American classic, by the author of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", told from several points of view combined with flashbacks. Suggest not trying to listen to audio version (I tried & found I had to get the print version to figure out what was going on.) A rewarding read. I know that movie versions of great books are often a letdown, but I'm going to check it out so that I can drool over Paul Newman.">View all my reviews
The Stone Diaries">The Stone Diaries by">Carol Shields
My rating:">5 of 5 stars

The ordinary life of an ordinary lady told in an extraordinary way. The characters develop and scenes unfold beautifully with nuances of language shifting rom 1st to 3rd person and back again. In one instance the main character is describing her feelings and then you go on and read how her family and friends interpreted the same thing. The publisher calls it "seductive prose" which is fitting description, It won the 1995 Puitzer prize.">View all my reviews