Book Reviews

Monday, January 25, 2010


The last few weeks have been an interesting mixture of mediocre reads. "The Color Purple" was the only one that really stood out to me. I've just started "Les Miserable" though and I have high hopes for it.

The Color Purple
by Alice Walker
★★★★

This powerful book is told in the form of letters from a young black woman, Celie, to God. Celie and her sister Nettie are separated at a young age. Nettie travels to Africa where she becomes a missionary. Celie is married off to a cruel man.

Walker's portrayal of the women in this story is wonderful. From the sexy Shug Avery who shows Celie what love is, to the Sofia, who refuses to back down to any man.

I particularly loved reading Nettie's letters to her sister, which describe her time in Africa. Both women, though separated by an ocean, are encouraged by the very thought of one day being reunited. This book is shows the wonder of hope and the strength that it can give us through the most horrible moments in our lives.

For One More Day
by Mitch Albom
★☆

Albom's second fiction piece is sappy at best. The characters aren't likable. Chick, the main character, is a selfish alcoholic who has spent his life idolizing his horrible father and never appreciating his wonderful mother. He doesn't truly realize his mistake until it's far too late and he decides to kill himself.

But don't judge him too harshly by this novel, his strength lies in nonfiction. "Tuesdays with Morrie" is a wonderful read.

G is for Gumshoe
by Sue Grafton
★★★

Grafton's 7th Millhone mystery divides it's time between two plots. Kinsey made it on someone's hit list and is being hunted by hired killers. She hires another PI, Robert Dietz to act as a body guard. The second plot focuses on a missing person assignment Kinsey has accepted. What starts off as a simple job quickly becomes complicated by murder.

The book isn't my favorite in the series, but unlike the others, it features the sharp-tongued detective having to ask someone for help. It's not often we see her in such a vulnerable position. It's a fun light read that won't be hard to get through.

Strait is the Gate
by Andre Gide
★★★

Gide's story follows a young man, Jerome, and his love for Alissa, his cousin. The two fall in love (back when cousins marrying was completely normal) and everyone assumes they will soon marry. But Alissa becomes increasingly distant, distraught and consumed with religion.

I had a hard time becoming attached to the two main characters, Jerome and Alissa, because they seemed to talk a lot about what they loved and wanted, but never really did anything. They seemed more in love with the idea of love than with the actual reality of it. I was more interested in Alissa's passionate sister Juliette, who was the most energetic of the characters. It was beautifully written, but won't stick with me.

The Wordy Shipmates
by Sarah Vowell
★★☆

The latest from Vowell focuses on the pilgrims. I've really enjoyed some of her other books, but this one felt like it dragged on. Her opinions and sarcasm often overwhelmed the facts and it also felt like she tried to pack too much information into the book. It lacked the balance between fact and anecdote that she has managed so well in the past.

The Lost Symbol
by Dan Brown
★★☆

Brown's novel follows a similar path as his other Langdon thrillers. It's packed with interesting historical and architectural facts, but the plot is predictable and repetitive. It's a fun, quick read, but don't expect it to challenge you too much.

I'm not sure where this photo came from, but I love this idea for a bookcase.

1 comment:

Rebecca :) said...

Well, like you, I loved The Color Purple. I read it for the Colorful Challenge last year. I was just floored by it. Such a moving story and such depth.

I am not a fan of Mitch Albom. Not even Tuesdays with Morrie, which most people love. I couldn't get into A is for Alibi. I don't care for Grafton's writing. I don't know what it is exactly other than maybe she isn't James Patterson, whom I love. I would be willing to try it again one day.