More Book Reviews!

I have been reading like a FIEND. Call me “late to the party”, but I just discovered that I can request almost any book from the library and it shows up in a couple days. Since our library is small and doesn’t have a whole lot of books (especially newer ones), I was getting frustrated that I couldn’t find anything I wanted to read. One day, I tried looking something up on their online card catalog and they didn’t have it. Then I saw the little “Request It” button and clicked it. Enter my library card info and it’s on its way from another library. Rock ON. So….I’ve been requesting more than I can read, but I’m going for it. So here’s what I’ve read recently.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. The cover looked interesting. Yes, it’s a young adult series, but history has proved that I like young adult fiction. This is a really interesting concept. It’s approximately 300 years in the future. Civilization as we know it is gone. The powers-that-be have decided that our societal problems boil down to people being jealous of one another and that these problems will be solved by creating a mandatory operation at 16 – becoming “pretty”. From 12-16, kids live in “Uglyville” where they basically wait until they’re old enough to have the operation and move to “New Pretty Town”. We follow the story of Tally and Shay as they prepare for their 16th birthdays and the possibility of running away and never becoming pretty. I really liked this story. It’s the first in a trilogy and I was very excited to get the 2nd book. The best part was that, once I read it, I could pass it on to Maggie because there is nothing inappropriate in it. No sex, no real violence, no swearing. I’m impressed by this author because it seems most YA authors can’t figure out how to write an interesting book without those features, but Scott Westerfeld does it. Maggie LOVED it, too. My grade: A

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld. This is book 2 of the trilogy. I don’t want to give anything away, but suffice it to say this book continues the story of Tally and the journey she and her friends go through. Everything I said in the prior paragraph applies here, too. My grade: A-

37 by Maria Beaumont. Wow. I could SO INCREDIBLY identify with the main character in this novel. Fran is about to turn 37. She has pretty much abandoned her career to become a stay-at-home mom. Her life revolves around her children and her husband, to the detriment of the other parts of her life. After a series of really rough discoveries, she kind of gives up for a while – losing herself in drink and food. It’s really a great tale of desperately trying to rediscover your own identity after years of being “Mom” and “wife” – fighting tooth and nail to claim yourself and crawl back out of the pit. Though I’m not drinking, I do identify with the theme of having no identity apart from being “mom”. Kind of hiding behind your duties as a SAHM because you’re too afraid to step out and risk being an entity separate from that. I really thought this book was good. My grade: B+

The Hindi-Bindi Club by Monica Pradhan. Basically, The Joy Luck Club in India. But, don’t take that as an insult. I do love reading about cultures other than my own and this was no exception. The Hindi-Bindi Club are 3 Indian women (Meenal, Saroj and Uma) who became friends when they were young, after coming to America. They each have a daughter (Kiran, Preity and Rani) who was born & raised in America and there’s a lot of tension and conflict due to the difference in culture. Kiran, Preity and Rani are each having problems/issues/awakenings that bring them back “home” to reconnect with their mothers, their families and their Indian culture in different ways. We learn about what Meenal, Saroj and Uma have come through to get where they are now and how that colors they way they relate to their daughters. The coolest part? After each chapter is at least one recipe for a dish that was talked about in the chapter. Each chapter is told in the voice of the person the chapter’s about. I loved this. The strength of each of these mothers is really something else. How they overcome what they’ve been through and work to keep their families functional, loving and moving forward is impressive. This is one of those books where I felt like I really wanted to know these people in real life. I’d love to hear their voices, know their stories and watch them interact. The only thing I’d change is the cover photo. I think this book deserves a much stronger photo – something with more gravitas. It looks a little fluffy and “chick-lit” and doesn’t truly represent the story within, IMO. My grade: B+

What’s on deck?

Specials by Scott WEsterfeld.

Extras by Scott Westerfeld.

Sweet Love by Sarah Strohmeyer

The Night Climbers by Ivo Stourton

Invisible Lives by Anjali Banerjee.

That’s quite a list. Plus, I just requested another 6 books at the library, so I’d better get reading!!