Book Reviews

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Here's a few more reviews from the past week of so. I'm still plugging away on some of my challenges, including Pulitzer-Prize winners.

Driving Miss Daisy
by Alfred Uhry
★★★★

This play spans a few decades and chronicles the budding friendship between an old cranky, Jewish woman, Daisy, and her driver, a black man named Hoke. Over the years their relationship changes from a business one to that of old friends. The dialogue is wonderful and though it is a short play, I quickly felt attached to the characters.

Unshaken
by Francine Rivers
★★★

Rivers does a good job portraying the fictionalized story of Ruth from the Bible. She bases it on the facts provided in the Bible and then provides her own story with the thoughts and feelings of Ruth, Boaz and Naomi. It does feel a bit more like a Bible study than a fictional book though and didn't shed any new thoughts on the story for me.

Who Moved My Cheese?
by Spencer Johnson
★★☆

This little life parable didn't provide me with any earth-shattering epiphanies. It's a simple tale that's suppose to teach readers not to get so settled into their lives that they can't cope when change comes. Most of the points made are pretty self-explanitory in my mind.

The Known World
by Edward P. Jones
★★★☆

This Pulitzer-Prize winner is about black free people and slaves in the 19th century. It looks closely at the complicated relationships between free and enslaved people of that time period. Jones' writing is wonderful, but the stories jumps around a lot. It flits between dozens of characters' points of view and flies back and forth in time. I enjoyed it, but frequently had to stop to figure out where we it was at in the time line.

The Mezzanine
by Nicholson Baker
★★★★

This gem of a book is an oddity of sorts. It seems short, but is filled with huge footnotes in a small font. It's about nothing, but it's about everything. Every time I would find myself starting to lose interest in the author's ramblings, he would say something that hit so close to home I was immediately caught back up in his seamless flow of thoughts.

The entire book follows the rambling thoughts of Howie, a worker in an office building. He talks about his lunch hour, the random acts we're inspired to do when alone in an elevator, and more. There's no plot to follow, just Howie's meandering commentary. Though the footnotes can be a bit trying and banal at times, the meat of the book is both original and hilarious.


Photo by moi.

3 comments:

Peaceful Reader said...

I read The Known World awhile ago and remember enjoying it!

Amanda said...

If we're chatting about Baker, have you read Room Temperature? It always kicks the Mezzanine's meandrous little ass for me. Also! The Everlasting Story of Nory. It is one of my deepest dearests.

Avid Reader said...

I haven't read anything else by Baker yet. I just ordered both of those from PBS and I'll add them to my TBR.