Whatcha reading?

Whatcha reading?

Friday, November 30, 2012

I Feel Bad About My Neck; and other thoughts on being a woman: Nora Ephron

A witty book through a different view on simple things like carrying a purse, and how you can tell someones age by their neck or her time working for JFK. The neck part sort of frightened me since the neck is supposed to get flabby at the age of 43!! Her last chapter where she talks about aging and death made me cry since she just died earlier this year. A very cute quick read.

Sophie's Choice: William Styron

So much happened in this book, it will be hard to cover. I was surprised I hadn't heard of it before coming across a list of banned books because it is an incredible story. I liked that the narrator tells us his nickname is stinky within the first few pages. The voice of this novel is very down to earth and likable, I enjoyed how Styron made the narrator an author. The story weaves together the lives of three very different people; Stingo, a southern boy aspiring to be an author, Nathan, a person we believe to be a doctor, but is actually crazy and Sofia, a survivor of Auschwitz. The story goes back and forth between Sofia's past at the concentration camp and her history to what happens at present time in the book. Sofia tells about her Father, who was a supporter of the "final solution" and was one of the first people murdered, having to choose which of her children would go to the gas chamber and which would live, and her life with the crazy man in the United States. This was an excellent book and I look forward to reading Styron's other stories.

Friday, November 16, 2012

How To Break A Terrorist: Matthew Alexander with John R. Bruning

This was a book about how Interrogators changed tactics to get information through hospitality rather than violence. The book focuses on Adu Musab al Zarqawi, the terrorist who murdered Nicolas Berg. I especially liked the voice in this book, it is very honest and open. It was very easy to read. I was glad both the success's and the mistakes were included.

Simone Weil: Francine Du Plessix Gray

An excellent biography about Simone Weil, a french philosopher and social activist. She was a Jewess during World War II and ended up committing suicide by starving herself while in the hospital. She was inspiring by how much she did in her short lifetime. She is known for her compassion for the less fortunate and seemed like an interesting, if highly opinionated person. I hadn't known who she was before coming across this book, so it was nice to learn about someone so different from the normal "famous person".

Monday, November 12, 2012

Rabbit, Run: John Updike

At the beginning of the book you sort of feel sorry for Rabbit because he is just starting to realize he has become ordinary after being a basketball star in high school. He realizes how much he detests his wife whom he married because he got her pregnant ( who is now expecting their second child) and one evening just drives away from everything. He Spends the night with his old basketball coach, who makes him feel like someone important again and meets a girl in a bar. He ends up living with her for a while and gets her pregnant also. His wife then gives birth to their daughter and he leaves the girlfriend (Ruth) to play the role of father again. Every attractive woman he comes across he believes is in love with him and he convinces himself that what he feels for them is love as well. He seems content for a couple weeks and then takes off again to go back to Ruth and finds her place empty. In the meantime we finally see the wife's perspective and see she is depressed and takes to drink to comfort herself on her immature husband. While intoxicated she tries bathing her new daughter and ends up drowning her. Rabbit comes back and is supportive until the funeral where people look at him in distaste. In anger he cries that the death was his wife's fault not him, which earns him looks of horror- once again he runs off and learns Ruth is pregnant with his child, but she doesn't want him either. The books ends with him running again from the mess he has made and responsibility. This was an interesting as well as infuriating book due to Rabbit's behaviour.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Denial: A Memoir of Terror: Jessica Stern

I had originally picked this up because I liked the author's book "Terror in the Name of God". At that time I didn't realize this book wasn't about Terrorists, but a different type of terror. In this book she revisits her childhood rape. She talks about the haziness of her memories of the event and the aftermath. She didn't remember some of the details until reading the police reports. She talks about the trauma, the PTSD, and how her mind has helped her cope. This book was so full of strength. She interviews her father, who survived the Nazi's, another rape survivor, friends and family of the diseased rapist, and a soldier also suffering from PTSD. I was so irritated during her interviews of the Rapist's family and friends because of their denial that he could or would rape, while the proof was interviewing them. Though I guess it shows how loved ones don't want to see what is right in front of them and how you never really know someone. I applaud the author for not only her journey in dealing with such a horrific crime, but for her voice in this book as well.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Lady of the Sea: Rosalind Miles

This was the third and final book of the Tristan and Isolde trilogy. I was hoping for an unpredictable ending, but they ended up together riding horses under rainbows with thoughts of children. I did like how most of the characters were brought back together and the book ended with some finality. There is turmoil with the Pict's, King Mark, Andred, and between Tristan and Isolde. These weren't my favorite books, but I think they are probably targeted for young girls. They were still entertaining and an easy read.

The Maid of the White Hands: Rosalind Miles

This was the second of the Tristan and Isole Novels, I was really hoping it would end similar to how it is documented, but oh well... The whole section at Castle Plaisir de Fay was sort of corny, all these women holding a man hostage for a little something something? I laughed and moved along in hopes the book would get better. This second story was definatly less historical and more a romance, which wasn't what I was looking for. I couldn't figure out how Mark was supposed to be, at first he's portrayed as witless, then mean, but loves Tristan, then he can't think for himself.