Saturday, August 27, 2011

books 2011 #20-25

A Stranger on the PlanetA Stranger on the Planet by Adam Schwartz

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I prefer my coming of age novels to have a lot less sex than this one does.

While at times I really felt for Seth and what he had to endure with his mother, his father, and his stepmother, I also just got tired of his inability to be a decent person every time it really mattered.

Can't really recommend this one.

Through His Eyes: Rethinking What You Believe about YourselfThrough His Eyes: Rethinking What You Believe about Yourself by Virginia H. Pearce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is about uncluttering your mind, or in other words, examining your beliefs and discarding the ones that are untrue. Sometimes we hold opposing beliefs and if we really think about it, we can't (or shouldn't) believe them both. Sometimes we allow ourselves to be guided by beliefs that may be true, but are not eternal truths, so we end up getting in our own way.

I found it to be very thought-provoking. I have an ongoing belief list that I can examine for the purposes of truth-seeking. I now feel myself to be an "inquirer after truth," and find myself thinking about it all the time.

Highly recommended.

The Lotus EatersThe Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book grew on me as I read it (thereby reinforcing my compulsion to finish a book I have started!). It's about three photographers (two American, one Vietnamese) who are covering the Vietnam War.

At first I didn't find the two Americans to be very likable, but the more I read about their experiences, the more I understood them and their behavior. I knew virtually nothing about the Vietnam War before reading this book, and now I feel like I get why it was so destructive to the people involved. Vietnam was almost a character in this book, the heat, the humidity, the lushness rising right off of its pages.

Linh was my favorite character, such a tender, gentle man. Through him, I learned about Vietnamese culture.

I found it fascinating the way Helen and Darrow became so changed by their time in Vietnam that they no longer even wanted to go home, much like the lotus eaters (referenced in the title) in Homer's Odyssey. A really interesting read.

Body SurfingBody Surfing by Anita Shreve

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this up on clearance at Borders because I liked Shreve's The Weight of Water and Sea Glass.

I like the way Shreve lets us in on her characters' thought processes (the protagonist/narrator, anyway). I liked the way Sydney's imagination would run away with her, the way she would consciously decide to give someone the benefit of a doubt.

I was interested to find out that several of Shreve's novels are set in the very same beachfront house, and we get a brief summary of the house's owners through the years in this book.

3.5 stars. Great beach read.

A Change in AltitudeA Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting study of a marriage. A couple experiences a traumatic event together, and we see how it impacts them, how they struggle through it.

Set in Kenya, where Shreve lived for several years, I enjoyed the descriptions of the country and the believable way the African characters were written. I never thought mountain climbing would be so interesting to me.

Good story, interesting characters, a quick read. 3.5 stars.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wouldn't go so far as to say that this book read like a novel, as some have said, but it did manage to combine science and human interest very effectively.

I loved Deborah, she is so refreshingly real. I loved it whenever anyone reached out to the Lacks family and tried to help them understand the difficult concepts surrounding their mother's cells and the scientific research and discoveries they facilitated.

I had no idea there were so many controversial issues regarding human tissue research.

View all my reviews


Jill said...

Way to go with all this reading!

Lucas' deep voice freaks me out too!

Charlotte said...

Whenever I find a book that I decidedly don't like I feel like I'm doing the world a favor by advising against it.

That Virginia Pearce book sounds really interesting. I think I'll have to give it a try.

I think I'll add The Lotus Eaters to my to-read list.

And I'm a little weirded out thinking of Lucas with a deep voice. I remember being totally taken off guard once John's voice started changing.

Tasha said...

Thanks for the reviews! I've been in a book drought!

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

"This book grew on me as I read it (thereby reinforcing my compulsion to finish a book I have started!)." I'm glad for this advice because that is always a conundrum for me.

Thanks, too, for the reviews. I always take them in consideration when I see your books.

crystal said...

My book club is too highfallutin' for me. WAYYY too highbrow. I am crashing yours next time. FYI.

patsy said...

You continue to amaze me!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...