I read this book at the same time as I was listening to The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. I’ll write a review for that next week. Anyway, I listened to a pretty intense scene in that audiobook on the same day that I read a really terrible scene in Glorious. For a moment I thought I was going to have to quit one of them because there was no way I was going to be able to emotionally handle both books at once. Well, I made it through and I’m glad I did. They were both excellent. [Read more…]
Normally, I don’t read YA books. It was never something I was into even as a high school student. Actually, I don’t even know if YA was a thing back then.
I happened to read Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell recently because I’d heard good things about it and liked the cover. I didn’t realize it was YA until I started reading it and when I did I almost decided to set it aside and read something else. High school was a nightmare for me. I’d rather not read anything that would bring up those terrible memories. I decided to soldier on and read the book despite my misgivings and I’m glad I did. Eleanor & Park is now on my favorite book list. [Read more…]
The Vegetarian is a novel by Han Kang. I’ve heard a lot about this book recently even though it was published in 2015. It was the winner of the International Man Booker Prize, and I’ve noticed a lot of reviews of it on Book Tube. The author is South Korean. I lived in South Korea for nearly 7 years so the book piqued my interest.
It is about a woman named Yeong-hye who after having a dream suddenly decides that she needs to become a vegan. She stops eating all animal products and stops wearing leather. This causes much distress in her family. The book really has nothing to do with being a vegetarian but is rather a book about mental health, abuse, and the consequences of decisions. Many of the reviews I read talk about it being a rather short book like that’s a bad thing, but I tend to like books on the short side. I found this to be the perfect length. The author writes in a way that gives the story a dream-like quality. She shows the main character’s descent into insanity in a way that’s eerily beautiful. [Read more…]
Recently, I finished reading the novel Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I certainly am glad I finally got around to reading the book because I’m still thinking about it. That’s how you know a book has gotten into your soul and spoken to you.
Never Let Me Go takes place in an imagined dystopian past. The story is told by a character named Kath. When the book begins, Kath is in her early thirties and has been working as what she refers to as a carer. She is looking back at her past as she prepares to make the transition from being a carer to being a donor. These words are all used in the beginning without the reader knowing exactly what they mean. I appreciate that the author was willing to trust the readers and not over explain. [Read more…]
It has taken me forever to get this review posted, but here it is … finally.
Down at the End of the River is a book of short stories by Angus Woodward. This book of quirky little stories gives you brief glimpses into the lives of a variety of characters living in southern Louisiana. Some are funny and some touch the soul, but all are written in a way that makes the ordinary interesting.
The characters are quite realistic. They could be standing in line behind you at the grocery store or in the car ahead of you at the traffic light. They are ordinary people in so many ways, but also extraordinary because of the stories they have to tell.
Woodward does a wonderful job of capturing moments. His descriptions drop you right into the story so that you feel like you know these people well.
My favorite story in the book is The Story of Jane and George. It the story of a Vietnam veteran and his Vietnamese wife. It really is a lovely story. Here is an excerpt from it.
George and Jane had crossed the big river bridge into Baton Rouge one night six weeks before, making the move from Galveston. The little car had strained to pull the rented trailer up the slope of the long steel span, but at the top every weight had seemed to lift from the car and from George’s chest. The river twinkled blackly, his wife slept lightly beside him, and they descended into a new city at high speed.
Things had gotten rough on both of them in Galveston before they were married. George had felt the beginnings of a subtle persecution when he started to appear with Jane in public. In the mall, in the grocery store, even just driving down the street he had felt stared at, talked about, laughed at meanly. He could tell that similar things were happening to Jane. “Don’t you knew her?” he’d asked her when they saw a plump Vietnamese woman in the meat department of the Piggly Wiggly near the waterfront. “I don’t know her,” Jane had said, not looking. When she and the woman spoke briefly in the cereal aisle, he thought their words sounded harsh and unfriendly. “What did she say?” he asked as they moved on toward the paper products. “She say , ‘Hello, how are you?'” Jane had answered. ~ Angus Woodward
I enjoyed this book tremendously and would definitely recommend it. Buy your own copy of Down at the End of the River.