Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What I Read Wednesday

So I kind of forget that it's Wednesday. Hiya Summer!

Big Brother: A Novel
This is one of those reads that reaches into your heart. The narrator, Pandora, has a complex relationship with her dysfunctional family and when she goes to pick her recently fallen-on-hard-times brother up at the airport, she discovers that in the years since she's seen him, he's gained 200 pounds. To make this more difficult, Pandora's husband is something of a health freak--allowing no junk food in the house and compulsively cycling to keep his body lean and trim. Pandora finds herself caught between helping her brother not eat himself to death and saving her marriage, plus somehow saving herself. This book also takes an interesting look at the way our society looks at food and obesity.

The Other Typist
As an English teacher, I LOVE unreliable narrators. However, it's definitely a tool that can easily be overplayed, but when done right, it can be brilliant. And in this book? It was done right, literally, until the very last page, to the point where I flipped back because I was shaking my head. Rose, our narrator--possibly very unreliable?--is a typist at a police precinct in the 20s. Rose is very moral and has a certain sense of guidelines that she follows, until she meets the flashy and gorgeous Odalie and the two become the very best of friends, attending speakeasies and weekend getaways together. It's on a weekend getaway that things begin to turn dark for Odalie and Rose. Saying any more would give away major spoilers, but this is a great summer read to get absolutely absorbed in.

Ghost Stories from the Ghosts' Point of View Trilogy Vol. 1 (Volume)
[I was given a copy of this book for free, but the opinions contained in this review are my own]
I will admit that I am fairly ignorant on things relating to this topic, but that doesn't mean that I'm not open to the thoughts that there is a spiritual energy around us that some people can see while others can't. Growing up in a house that was built in the 1840s vs. living in a relatively new house is a testament to that, because my parents' house has a certain feeling about it that our house doesn't. A sense of history and energy, to say the least--and then there was the time that my green hairbrush relocated itself, but that was the only thing that ever happened to me. Mostly, the house just felt different and that's why this book interested me. The author is retired from a career in the Navy and this book is about helping ghosts who are stuck in this world cross over, after hearing their story. Usually, it's in places where history has happened--the Civil War, Native Americans, WWII, or where people have died in accidents and don't realize what's happened to them. I suppose that regardless of what you believe, this could be an interesting read to enjoy to even if you don't believe in ghosts.

The Devil's Arithmetic (Puffin Modern Classics)
I'm teaching this in the fall, so even though I've read it before, I re-read it to make notes over it. It's been years since I've read it, so it was like reading it for the first time. The title refers to the math that the Nazis had to do to achieve the Final Solution. The story itself is about a 12 year old Jewish girl, Hannah, who is bored at Passover and tired of remembering, embarrassed of her relatives who are ancestors and have outbursts over war movies and over the numbers on their arms. During Passover Seder, she's chosen to open the door to welcome Elijah and in the midst, she is transported back to 1942, where she ends up as a girl named Chaya and is quickly taken to a concentration camp. She befriends a girl named Rivka and she learns what it means to be a survivor. I love this book because it's one of the few age appropriate Holocaust books for 8th graders. It's just brutal enough about the subject material without being too difficult for them and the reading level is low enough that I can pair it with The Diary of Anne Frank and get through both in a month. It's definitely a good read for kids and adults.

What are you reading?


The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I just finished The Book of Ruth and Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I started Beach Music last night.

Becky said...

Big Brother looks awesome! Have you ever read Heft: A Novel? You'd love it.

Lyndsay said...

Can Luke do some guest posts now that he's a reading machine this summer?

Barb Ruess said...

Just finished Amity & Sorrow and liked it far more than I expected too. Am now into Double Feature by Owen King and not liking it as much as I'd hoped but I'll stick with it a bit longer at least. Then it's time to get a new stack from the library!

I love Lyndsay's idea!