Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What I Read Wednesday

Thanks to yet another snow day, I was able to finish another book before writing this post. Hooray. I guess. I'd rather be reading in June.

Paris Trout
As Barb, who recommended this book, said the title character of this novel is "one mean SOB." On the surface, this is the [fictional] story of the murder of a young black girl in the post-WWII south by a white man and how white class and privilege reacts to that. But it's more than that, because Paris Trout isn't *just* a bigot (and I use the phrase just lightly, obviously). He's a man who truly, deeply believes that he's in the right to take a life, and he cannot fathom why anyone would think otherwise. Beyond that, as the book unfolds, Paris Trout becomes a truly vile human being, at times committing acts and thoughts that are painful to comprehend, all in the name of what he believes is his own personal righteousness. I really enjoyed this book, though it is, truly, not a happy book. The voices of the different characters are strong and well-written, each telling a different tale and showing the ripple effects of Paris' careless act.

The Wind Is Not a River
I love it when historical fiction enlightens me to something of which I was previously unaware. This book is about the Japanese takeover of the Aleutian islands during WWII and the subsequent relocation of the native islanders, which was an actual event in our history. One more, a journalist, sets out to investigate the takeover which has been all but censored by the US government. Unfortunately, while on a plane over one of the islands, he is shot down. What follows is his attempt to survive and his wife's attempt to head north into Alaska to make her way to the Aleutian islands to find the husband that she still strongly believes to be alive. This was one of those slow stories that really gripped me and was full of details of not only their relationship but of war and survival. I thought of for quite awhile after I finished reading.

Carthage: A Novel
I am a Joyce Carol Oates fangirl. One of my biggest regrets is not seeing her years ago when she spoke at a local university, but it was at night and no one wanted to come with me and I was at a very anxious stage in my life. So. I'm still sad about that. Anyway, what I like about Oates is that she doesn't gloss over the ugliness of humanity. It's there. It's real and she writes in a way that readers can say, "Yeah. That's not a Hollywood reaction, but that's a HUMAN reaction."
Zeno Mayfield has two daughters: Juliet and Cressida. Julie is the pretty one. Cressida is the smart one--and the homely one, who lives awkwardly in her sister's shadow and her own insecurity. Cressida goes missing and the #1 suspect is an Iraq war veteran and Julie's ex-fiance, Brett, who struggled with the demons of PTSD. This is a difficult book to review without giving away spoilers, but suffice to say, it's not a murder mystery novel. It's more complex than that, but within the layers of Cressida's disappearance lie many issues: Brett's mental instability, sibling relationships and how hard it is to love someone who can't love herself. I loved this book, especially the ending, which I read twice because it was so real and honest.

Hollow City (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children)
This is the sequel to Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, which I've been waiting for FOREVER (not exaggerating). It did not disappoint. If you haven't read Miss Peregrine, do so now! Best is the author's use of vintage, bizarre photographs to enhance the story. Hollow City continues where Miss Peregrine left off. I enjoyed this one even more than the first, actually, because you explore so much more of the peculiar world and Jacob learns more about himself. And with another cliffhanger ending, I wonder how long I have to wait before the next book?!

What are you reading?


Corrin said...

Girl, you finished Carthage and Hollow City in the time it's taken me to read half of Hollow City.

Barb Ruess said...

The Burgess Boys dragged me down a bit last week but I'm moving quickly through The Tilted World (and loving one of the main characters: Dixie Carter). Up next: Burial Rites.

Those Miss Peregrine books sound intriguing...

One crazed mommy said...

Oooh - looking forward to Hollow City!
Currenty reading Schism - it is the debut novel of one of my high school friends, Brett Dent - his first ever. Just came out last week on Kindle for $2.99. I thought I would check it out, to be supportive, and I'm so glad I did - it's had me up late the last couple of nights not wanting to put it down - here is the synopsis:

The hidden secrets of the human psyche are only now being discovered, and a deadly game is being played between those who have the gift and those who want the gift.

Adam Hutchens sees the world like no one else—a remote viewer whose incredible gift goes beyond explanation, even in the world of fringe science. When he inexplicably murders his grandmother during an intense psychotic break, Dr. William Creighton uses the opportunity to bring Adam for study to the Hillview Institute, along with other patients with similar talents.

When patients begin to disappear following a rumored medical procedure, Adam—with the help of a kind-hearted nurse, his psychiatrist, and a fellow patient—must discover the true purpose of the institute and how to tame his extraordinary power, before it's too late.


One crazed mommy said...

I'm also excited - I got to work this morning and someone had left a copy of Doctor Sleep on my desk!!! :) Yay!

InTheFastLane said...

I am currently reading Motherland - back into my WWII, historical fiction genre. This is written from a perspective of a German family. And it is very clear how little control they have over the direction of their country and leader, and the fear and hunger that they too suffer under.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I'm reading The Execution which is the second in a series by Dick Wolf, the creator of Law and Order. Loved the first book, but this second book is not as fast paced. When I'm done I am reading Labor Day by Joyce Maynard as it is the book club pick in both of my book clubs this month.

Lyndsay said...

I'm still reading 'The Tie That Binds' which I started on vacation and didn't even finish because there were CHILDREN on this vacation who needed somebody to walk with them to get virgin margaritas and play BINGO and make bracelets and paint pottery and jump in the waves.
But I'm not complaining, it was even better than reading (most of the time... well at least 45% of the time).

Up next: I can't remember. There's a big pile beside my bed and 2 more waiting at the library.

Lyndsay said...

(Kent Haruf)

which you know because you introduced me to his books and I'm very, very grateful.