Posts Tagged ‘4.5 out of 5’
- [Note: this review is also posted at travel blog, Twenty Years Hence. Sorry for the cross-post for those of you who are subscribed to both (but thanks for supporting all our endeavors!).]
- For me, the very best books, regardless of genre, are the ones that whisk me away from my own life and allow me to see and understand the world in a way I hadn’t before. If there’s one type of book with an innate affinity to do this very thing, surely it is the travel memoir! The very best of their kind aren’t just about traveling around in strange lands, encountering odd social customs and nibbling on questionable foods—though those anecdotes are fascinating in their own ways)—but are about the personal transformation that occurs when we venture out of our homes and leave the safety and security of the familiar behind.
The Hand That First Held Mine for BookPage. I completely admit that I picked the ARC in part because the cover was SO pretty, and when I started to read it, well, it turned out the writing was ALSO pretty. Win, win, win! One thing I feel like a lot of authors seem to do nowadays is play with interleaved narratives and storylines, taking seemingly disparate characters only to ultimately have their stories/lives intersect in some way. Another popular device of late has been the nonlinear storyline, in which readers are thrust back and forth in time, which has the great risk of being befuddling and confusing if not well done. I enjoy both of these devices, but I’ve seen enough of each to know that neither is a guarantee for a novel’s success as both can be employed rather shabbily. Of course, a novel that manages to incorporate both devices effectively has the high probability of lying in my literary sweet spot and being something I will love vociferously. I like books that some might term “head-scratchers”, and so I tend to enjoy books that make the gears of my mind turn as I read and attempt to piece everything together. The Hand That First Held Mine was a great example of the non-linear and dual narrative joining to produce literary bliss, so I immediately flagged O’Farrell as an author whose back catalogue I should read in its entirety. (more…)Maggie O’Farrell is one of those authors who I feel is sadly overlooked by readers and bloggers alike. I guess I can’t fully fault those of you who have yet to discover her since I myself am rather late to the party, only having discovered O’Farrell last year when I had the great fortune to review
I read my first Scarlett Thomas book, Our Tragic Universe, last year, and found it immensely provocative. I didn’t think it was a perfect novel, but so few are, and I found the ideas that Thomas explored there so irresistible and vital that I knew I would need to read more things by her. Since her books are thinking novels, I found that my appreciation for OTU grew as my distance to it increased; I found I couldn’t stop thinking about the quandaries Thomas had posed and I had increasingly strong desires to reread it. So when I saw a copy of The End of Mr. Y on my friend Trisha’s bookshelf, I immediately asked to borrow it so I could continue my exploration of Thomas’s oeuvre and all the wacky ideas she poses. (more…)It is official: I have a new girl crush. Most of the objects of my Sapphic affection tend to be these really brilliant brainy ladies (who have kick-ass senses of humor), so it should come as no surprise that I am now inducting Scarlett Thomas into my club of “Women I Would Go Gay For”. She is just so very smart! What can I say? Most men tend to appreciate either boobs or legs, but me, I’m all about your cerebral cortex.
Hungry Like the Woolf. Better yet, Kerry was hosting a giveaway and I was lucky enough to win! Don’t you just love it when that happens? From Kerry’s review, I knew I was in for a wild and crazy ride, but this is the kind of book that defies description. The only way to understand what it is is to get up close and personal your very self. It’s the only way you have half a chance of appreciating the absurd, befuddling world that first-time author Kira Henehan has created. With books this good, simply hearing from someone else how good they are is a bit like having salt rubbed in a wound. I mean, I’d hate to steal all the fun of it from you. Talking to you about this book is almost like taking a picture of something amazing, like the Eiffel Tower, and expecting you to feel like you were standing at its base. Or perhaps even worse, it might be more like taking a picture of a picture of the Eiffel Tower, diluting its power even further. (more…)Way back in 2010, I read a rave review of Orion You Came And You Took All My Marbles over at