Book Review: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Book: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Published: Puffin Books, 1999
Genre: Young Adult
Buy It: Amazon

Summary (from Goodreads): Since the beginning of the school year, high school freshman Melinda has found that it's been getting harder and harder for her to speak out loud: "My throat is always sore, my lips raw.... Every time I try to talk to my parents or a teacher, I sputter or freeze.... It's like I have some kind of spastic laryngitis." What could have caused Melinda to suddenly fall mute? Could it be due to the fact that no one at school is speaking to her because she called the cops and got everyone busted at the seniors' big end-of-summer party? Or maybe it's because her parents' only form of communication is Post-It notes written on their way out the door to their nine-to-whenever jobs. While Melinda is bothered by these things, deep down she knows the real reason why she's been struck mute...

Laurie Halse Anderson's first novel is a stunning and sympathetic tribute to the teenage outcast. The triumphant ending, in which Melinda finds her voice, is cause for cheering (while many readers might also shed a tear or two). After reading Speak, it will be hard for any teen to look at the class scapegoat again without a measure of compassion and understanding for that person--who may be screaming beneath the silence.

My thoughts: There has been a lot of buzz around Speak lately after this article by Wesley Scroggins. I saw the movie a couple years ago but never got around to reading the book. With this week being banned books week, I decided there has never been a better time to read it. I found that the movie is actually very true to the book. 

Melinda Sordino became a social outcast overnight after getting a party busted during the summer before her freshman year. Nobody knows the real reason why she called the cops that night because she is afraid to tell anyone. The story is a sad but unfortunately very believable one. High school was a very different experience for me because I went to the same school from 5th grade until I graduated. We all grew up together and were a fairly tight knit group. There were acts of bullying, name calling and casting people out of the "cliques", but there was never anyone quite like Melinda. There were 4 other very large high schools in my city and they were all very similar to Melinda's Merryweather High. 

There is a darkness in Speak that the reader is aware of from the start, yet Anderson manages to add humor and sarcasm into the mix. I felt like this was exactly the kind of story students about to enter high school should read. It is tough subject matter told in a relatable voice which is very important for young teens. It also goes to show that speaking up is very important. Once Melinda was able to stand up for herself and speak out about what happened to her that night, there was a weight lifted off her shoulders. She still didn't forget about the incident, but she was able to get help and make others aware of it so it wouldn't happen to them. Banning this book (or any book) is only preventing teens from getting a lesson in how to deal with sex and the pressures of growing up. Parents and teachers try to pretend that their kids aren't dealing with these issues and that's exactly how a teen ends up in Melinda's position. It's sad to see her want to tell her parents multiple times, but she's too scared and ashamed. Reading Speak for the first time as an adult, I wanted to shake Melinda until she realized she can't run away from her troubles. It was a great triumph to see her finally tell her story to her friends, family and teachers.

The verdict: 3 stars


Book Review: Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt


Book: Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
Published: Simon & Schuster, 1996
Genre: Non-Fiction/ Memoir
Buy It: Amazon

Summary from Goodreads: "When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood." So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank's mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank's father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy -- exasperating, irresponsible and beguiling -- does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father's tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies.
Perhaps it is story that accounts for Frank's survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig's head for Christmas dinner and gathering coal from the roadside to light a fire, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors -- yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance and remarkable forgiveness.
Angela's Ashes, imbued on every page with Frank McCourt's astounding humor and compassion, is a glorious book that bears all the marks of a classic.

My thoughts:

Angela’s Ashes is the true story of Frank McCourt's life in America and Ireland during World War II. Frank was born in America along with his brother, Malachy, the twins Oliver and Eugene, and the baby Margaret. The family cannot afford to feed all of the children because Mr. McCourt has trouble finding work and squanders all his money away in the pubs. After a short time in the states, the family goes back to their homeland in Ireland to try to get back on their feet and have help caring for the children. 
I can't think of a memoir that I haven't enjoyed and Angela's Ashes is no exception. Even though most memoirs are ridden with pain and suffering, I find the writing style to be very quick and easy to read. I don't feel like I have the right to judge the life of another human being which makes it hard to give a star rating to a book like Angela's Ashes. The struggles that are presented to the reader in this memoir are heartbreaking. The poor children are starving and the loss of a child sadly becomes almost a regular occurrence for the McCourts. I loved Frankie’s strength and perseverance to find a way to help his family when his father was not living up to his fatherly duties. Frankie managed to keep his childlike innocence despite how quickly he was forced to grow up and he was always thinking about the well being of his family before his own. It was hard to believe that this is a memoir because the story was told in great detail. The memories McCourt has from his childhood play out on the pages like a movie. The children wearing rags for clothes and the babies not even having clothes to wear because they can't keep them clean, it's no wonder they were struggling to stay healthy. It made me so angry to read about a father neglecting his family in such a way. He was murdering his own children in a sense so that he could support his drinking habit. Then he would go home drunk in the night and impregnate his wife yet again. Another mouth that will be neglected.
I did feel as though I’d been a bit mislead on the title of the book. I was waiting for a story about his mother’s passing and him doing something with her ashes. I thought the ending was a bit abrupt. I would have liked to know more about Frank’s journey to America and what became of his family. However, it did end on a good note and maybe that was the point. Apparently there is a sequel called 'Tis, which I'm going to have to check out. I would recommend everyone read Angela’s Ashes if you haven’t already. There are shelves full of books about life during the war in Nazi Germany but very few on what it was like in other countries. Times were tough all over Europe and this deeply moving memoir is a good example of that.

The verdict: 3 stars 


Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Fictional Couples


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish. The theme this week is top favorite fictional couples. I sat in front of my computer screen for far too long trying to come up with a list of ten, but I couldn't do it. I realized that I don't read a lot of fiction with love stories. I might need to start reading more chick lit!

1. Henry & Clare (The Time Traveler's Wife) -  definitely my favorite literary couple of all time. They were actually the only couple I could think of without really having to think about it. I've heard the argument about Clare being a weak woman, always waiting around for Henry to show up, but to me that's what makes this such an epic love story. The pain she felt when he was not around and the anticipation of seeing him again are what makes The Time Traveler's Wife one of my favorite books.

2. Romeo & Juliet - the ultimate love story. I'll admit that what makes these two one of my favorite couples is the chemistry between Leonardo DiCaprio and Clare Danes in the 1996 adaptation. Now I can't picture anyone else as the starcrossed lovers.

3. Holly & Gerry (PS, I Love You) - This was another tragic love story. What I loved about these two was the lengths Gerry went to in order to help Holly move on.

4. Noah & Allison (The Notebook) - even though I saw the movie before I read the book, I still bawled like a baby reading the end of The Notebook. I loved Noah & Allie's relationship right from the start.

5. Jacob & Marlena (Water For Elephants) - I don't remember too much about their relationship now, having read the book over two years ago, but I remember rooting for these two all along.

6. Jess & Leslie (Bridge To Terabithia) - They weren't really a couple, I know, but I always pictured them getting married if Leslie hadn't had her accident.

7. Ron & Hermione (Harry Potter series) - love these two and their constant bickering. So glad that in the end they realized they were meant to be!


My First Book Event: The West Hollywood Book Fair

As I mentioned in this week's In My Mailbox post, yesterday I went to my first big book event. I heard about the West Hollywood Book Fair shortly after we moved to Los Angeles and spent the last month trying to convince my boyfriend to take me. I'm pretty sure he was planning to take me all along but he likes to give me a hard time about my book obsession. It was HOT (about 97 I think). These last couple of days have definitely been the hottest weather since we moved to LA in July. It's currently 102 degrees and I feel a bit like my skin is melting right off my body. 
At the book fair I didn't end up taking any photos or getting any books signed. I wasn't sure what to expect although I did spend a lot of time online researching the fair and all of the authors who would be in attendance. I was going to go to the Jay Asher (13 Reasons Why) signing but first there was a large group chatting with him and then I got a bit distracted by fresh squeezed lemonade (like I said, it was REALLY hot!). While I was there, I realized that it wasn't the smartest idea for me to spend all of my money on books to get signed. As much as I want to support the authors and get a chance to snap a picture with them, I am currently unemployed and need to be smarter about my book buying. I did come across a great little traveling bookshop, Brown Bag Books. Check out their website to see if they are going to be at any events near you. They had an amazing collection at really great prices. I got a copy of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer in near perfect condition for $6. 
Since it was my first book fest, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed and wasn't sure whether I should check out the panels or just spend my time walking around. We ended up doing a little of both. I'm a little bummed I didn't go to any of the signings but oh well, all the more reason to go to the next festival! I also need to find a bookish friend instead of dragging my boyfriend along. He just doesn't share my excitement of being surrounded by books. He's very supportive but I felt guilty about keeping him out in the hot sun all day. 
Some of the other author's that were at the event were Aimee Bender (The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake), Frank Beddor (The Looking Glass Wars series), Francesca Lia Block (Weetzie Bat series, etc) & Heidi Durrow (The Girl Who Fell From The Sky). All in all I think it was a good first event for me. I was able to get a feel for what goes on and now I know I'll be able to better prepare for the next one. Hopefully by then I'll have some extra money to splurge on more books!


In My Mailbox/ Weekly Reading Wrap-Up (2)

It's been a good week for this book nerd! This past Friday I finally had a chance to get a library card. I've been doing so well getting through all the books on my shelf but I have a feeling that's a thing of the past. I'm ashamed to say I forgot how amazing the library is. I also went to my first book festival today which I'll do a separate post on later.

This week I read My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult (read my review HERE) and am now reading Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt.

This is my second time doing an In My Mailbox post. IMM is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Here's what was in my mailbox this week!
From the West Hollywood Book Fair:

From the library:

Burned - Ellen Hopkins
Evernight - Claudia Gray
Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson
Dreamland - Sarah Dessen
No One Belongs Here More Than You - Miranda July


Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

The book blogger hop is hosted by Crazy-for-Books. This week's question is:
When you write reviews, do you write them as you are reading or wait until you have read the entire book?

My answer: I always write my reviews after I've finished the book in case the ending ruins or redeems the rest of the book for me. I usually try to write the review right after I've finished reading or before I move on to another book just because I have a pretty terrible memory. The best reviews I've written are when the book is fresh in my mind.


Book Review: My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Book: My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Published: Atria Books, 2004
Genre: Fiction
Buy It: Amazon

Summary (from Goodreads): Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate -- a life and a role that she has never challenged...until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister -- and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.
My Sister's Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child's life, even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you? Once again, in My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult tackles a controversial real-life subject with grace, wisdom, and sensitivity. An amazing read and an incredible experience.

My thoughts: My Sister's Keeper is the second Jodi Picoult novel that I have read. There was a lot of hype around it a few years back when I actually acquired my copy but it took me awhile to pick it up off my shelf. After reading a bunch of less than mediocre fiction recently, I was very pleased with my choice to read it now. It took me only about two and a half days to read once I picked it up. Picoult hooked me right from the start. This was one of those books that I stayed up reading vigorously into the night. Definitely very thought provoking. Picoult may have a formula for her novels (at least from what I've read)- the family torn apart by a life shaking event, a dramatic courtroom trial and a shocking twist at the end, but it works.

Sara and Brian Fitzgerald find out that their daughter, Kate, has leukemia at age two. Her last hope is to have blood donated to her, but nobody in her family is a match. That's when the parents decide to have another child who will be able to save Kate. Thus, Anna is born, a perfect genetic match for her sister Kate. Over the years, Kate's leukemia causes problem after problem and Anna is expected to be there to donate whatever piece of her Kate needs to live. At age thirteen, Anna is tired of having her body invaded for her dying sister so she hires a lawyer to help her become medically emancipated from her parents.

I loved the characters and the way the story was told from each person's point of view. I felt so torn over who to side with. It also made me terrified to ever have children. It goes to show that not everything in life can be defined by right and wrong. I loved seeing the way Anna's choice to sue her parents brought her closer with her troubled brother, Jesse, and how her father stuck by her. Amidst crisis, the family was still a family, as we saw the touching moments she shared with her mother throughout the trial. I also really enjoyed seeing Campbell and Julia's story play out. The only issue I had was with the ending. I was expecting a twist (there were actually a couple here) but it still made me angry that there wasn't the happy ending, or at least the ending we were expecting. There was a huge buildup to the end of the Fitzgerald family's trial and Kate's future and then bam! Picoult blindsides us. It was still a very well put together story, I just have a bone to pick with Ms. Picoult. How dare you do that to me! I can't really say much more than that without giving anything away, but if you have not read this yet, I suggest you do. And make sure you have a box of tissues!

The verdict: 4 stars 


Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. The topic this week is our top ten favorite book quotes. Let me preface this by saying I've never been one to keep track of my favorite quotes. I wish I had kept a little notebook or something. Since joining Goodreads, I do try to add quotes to my quotes section but I don't do that nearly enough. With that said, here's my attempt at a list of quotes

1. "The world was hers for the reading." - A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith
2. "She wants to know if I love her, that's all anyone wants from anyone else, not love itself but the knowledge that love is there, like new batteries in a flashlight in the emergency kit in the hall closet." - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
3. "No wonder kids grow up crazy. A cat's cradle is nothing but a bunch of x's between somebody's hands, and little kids look and look and look at all those x's..."
"No damn cat, and no damn cradle." - Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
4. "We are the ones who take this thing called music and line it up with this thing called time. We are the ticking, we are the pulsing, we are underneath every part of this moment. And by making the moment our own, we are rendering it timeless. There is no audience. There are no instruments. There are only bodies and thoughts and murmurs and looks. It's the concert rush to end all concert rushes, because this is what matters. When the heart races, this is what it's racing towards." - Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
5. "When I looked at you, my life made sense. Even the bad things made sense. They were necessary to make you possible."- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
6. "Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt" - Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
7. "I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited." - Sylvia Plath
8. "So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be." - The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
9. "He was the crazy one who had painted himself black and defeated the world. She was the book thief without the words. Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like rain." - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
10. "I believe a strong woman may be stronger than a man, particularly if she happens to have love in her heart. I guess a loving woman is indestructible."- East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Lastly, I'm excited to announce I've come up with a bookish title for my blog. I've had a temporary title for awhile, but have finally settled on "Recklessly Reading". I did some searching around and it does not seem to be taken here in the blog world. Hopefully I didn't steal it from anyone! Next on the agenda will be to work out a more aesthetically pleasing layout :)


Book Review: The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon

Book: The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
Publisher: 2008, Harper Perennial
Genre: Fiction
Buy It: Amazon

Description (from Goodreads): For sixty years Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the Federal District of Sitka, a "temporary" safe haven created in the wake of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. The Jews of the Sitka District have created their own little world in the Alaskan panhandle, a vibrant and complex frontier city that moves to the music of Yiddish. But now the District is set to revert to Alaskan control, and their dream is coming to an end.
Homicide detective Meyer Landsman of the District Police has enough problems without worrying about the upcoming Reversion. His life is a shambles, his marriage a wreck, his career a disaster. And in the cheap hotel where Landsman has washed up, someone has just committed a murder—right under his nose. When he begins to investigate the killing of his neighbor, a former chess prodigy, word comes down from on high that the case is to be dropped immediately, and Landsman finds himself contending with all the powerful forces of faith, obsession, evil, and salvation that are his heritage.
At once a gripping whodunit, a love story, and an exploration of the mysteries of exile and redemption, The Yiddish Policemen's Union is a novel only Michael Chabon could have written.

My thoughts: Ever have one of those books that no matter how many times you try to read it or what environment you're reading it in, you can't focus? This was one of those books for me. I started The Yiddish Policemen's Union back in June when I still lived in Boston and was working at my old job. I guess life just got in the way for me for awhile but I'm a bit neurotic when it comes to reading, so last weekend I told myself I had to finish this one before picking up something new. For the most part, it gets good reviews (at least on Goodreads). I feel like I completely missed the boat here. The language and the characters were overly developed, I was constantly getting lost or zoning out. I had to go back to read whole chapters multiple times and found I wasn't absorbing it. It read like a textbook to me. Perhaps it's just not a subject I'm interested in (although some of my favorite books deal with the Holocaust). I still am not entirely sure what The Yiddish Policemen's Union was about even after reading multiple summaries and reviews online.  I found the story to drag on, never really grasping my attention. The Yiddish terms sprinkled throughout the book made me feel like I needed to have my internet's browser opened up to Google far too often. If it wasn't for my rule of always finishing a book once I've started, I would have thrown this one at the wall just a few chapters in. I don't have anything good to say about The Yiddish Policemen's Union, so I'm just going to stop here. I'd suggest picking up Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay instead, which gets 4 stars from me. I really feel like Chabon dropped the ball on this one, but it did win some awards, so what do I know? Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go find a really excellent book to follow this one before I get depressed!

The verdict: 1 star 


In My Mailbox/ Weekly Reading Wrap-Up

To keep you all updated on my weekly reading progress and let you know about upcoming reviews, I've decided to start doing a weekly wrap-up. I'm also going to join in on the In My Mailbox fun. IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.
This week I've been reading The Yiddish Policemen's Union. I should finish up tomorrow and finally be done with this book, which I started all the way back in June!

Bought at Borders- Love Is A Mixtape by Rob Sheffield (finally!) & Paper Towns by John Green

Bought at Salvation Army: The Girls' Guide To Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank & The A-List by Zoey Dean


Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish with the purpose of sharing top ten lists about different topics each week. This week, our lists are compiled of the top ten books we're dying to read. This was a fun one. It reminded me about all the books I want to read that are sitting on my bookshelves and the ones I need to get my hands on asap!

1. Love Is A Mixtape by Rob Sheffield- This one has been on my wishlist for quite some time now, but I still have not managed to buy myself a copy or pick one up at the library. I've heard so many gushing reviews, plus it's about music so right there it's got to be great.
2. Jessica Z by Shawn Klomparens- There seemed to be a Jessica Z. craze about two years ago that I missed out on. Everyone was reading it but I never did.
3. The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall- I saw this one in the bookstore so many years ago and wanted it so bad, but that was during my broke college years so I couldn't afford it. Since then, it's been a bit hard to find and when I do come across it at a bookstore, for some reason I always end up buying something different.
4. Paper Towns by John Green- I read Looking For Alaska 2 years ago and really dug Green's writing. I've heard a lot of buzz about Paper Towns and finally purchased a copy at Borders over the weekend. It will be knocked off this list very soon!
5. Great House by Nicole Krauss- I absolutely adored The History of Love and have heard equally wonderful things about Krauss' latest novel. I cannot wait to get my hands on this one!
6. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath by Sylvia Plath- I enjoy all things Sylvia Plath and am interested in reading more about her depression through her journals. I have this one on my shelf but have been waiting for the right mood to strike before I get started on it.
7. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski- the format of House of Leaves is what most interests me. I've had this one on my wishlist for years now but haven't splurged on a copy for myself yet. Perhaps this Halloween season...
8. Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck- After having just read East of Eden, plus my recent obsession with travelogues, I can't wait to read this one.
9. Then We Came To The End by Joshua Ferris- I've been wanting to read this one for so long and I received a copy for Christmas last year. I have no idea why it's still sitting in my TBR pile.
10. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins- I'm one of the few people who hasn't read any of the Hunger Games series. I want to change that soon!

In unrelated news, I've been completely swamped this week with applying for job and going to interviews. I had about a month's worth of a dry spell where I wasn't getting any calls after my first round of interviews but it's really picked back up this week. Hopefully by next week I'll receive a job offer and get back into a routine.


Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

It's Friday! That means it's time for this week's Book Blogger Hop at Crazy-for-Books. This week we have the task of posting a link to a favorite post or book review that we've written in the past three months.

My favorite: East of Eden review 
I haven't been on the blog scene for long so I don't have tons of content yet, but the review I did for East of Eden is my favorite so far. I haven't been that excited about a book in awhile. I had the most fun writing that review because I was so excited to share my thoughts on the novel.


Book Review: Numb by Sean Ferrell

Book: Numb by Sean Ferrell
Publisher: 2010, Harper Collins
Genre: Fiction
Buy It: Amazon

My thoughts: *may contain spoilers* "Numb" is the journey of an amnesiac who can't feel pain. He has no recollection of his true identity or where he came from, so he does what any lonely person with a unique talent has at least thought of doing, he joins the circus. During his time in the circus, we begin to see that the people around him tend to use him for their own gain. He cannot feel pain but he does come away with many horrible scars that serve as a reminder. After an incident in the lion's cage, Numb (as he has come to be known), and his friend Mal head to New York City with a single clue to Numb's former life, an old, bloody business card. In New York, Numb is overwhelmed with how much the people around him use his sudden fame to make money. They nail him to bars for money despite his protests. Finally, Numb gathers the courage to break his ties with Mal. He gets himself an agent and a girlfriend, and things seem to be really looking up.
"Numb"is a wild ride in one man's search for identity. Along the way we see how it feels to be used for fame and fortune. Although Numb can't feel physical pain, this story is all about the emotional struggles he has. Even when Numb was doing stupid things like cheating on his sweet, blind girlfriend, I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. Ferrell did a great job of creating a flawed but likable protagonist. There was nothing amazing about this book, but it was a quick read that I found interesting. "Numb" offers a different take on human nature that I found refreshing, albeit dark. It's hard to imagine the condition Numb is in, desperately wanting to feel the pain that others feel. If you're squeamish, you may have some difficulties getting through this one as it's quite graphic at times. Ferrell is a great new writer that I'm excited to see more from.

My Rating: 3 Stars


Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

I'm late to the blogger hop this week because I spent the long weekend up in San Francisco. I had a great trip although it was way too short. Unfortunately, it was very foggy while I was there so I didn't get the best photos. Anyway, this week's question on the hop is:
Do you judge a book by its cover?

My answer: Usually I do judge books by the cover. I won't rule out a book based on its cover if it's been recommended to me but if I'm in a book store or at the library, I typically will buy a book if it has a cool cover and sounds interesting. Many of the classics I own have old, plain covers. I've been tempted to buy a new copy when I see all the cool artwork on the covers lately.


Book Review: Hotel Du Lac

Book: Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner
Published: EP Dutton, 1986
Genre: Fiction
Buy it: Amazon

My thoughts:

I wanted to like this book but I just couldn’t. Hotel Du Lac is the story of Edith Hope, a woman and author who is sent by her friends to a hotel in Switzerland to get over a mysterious lapse. Most of the story is about Edith’s impressions of the other hotel guests. There is plenty of description in this novel, in fact that’s about all that fills the 184 pages. We learn about the lives of a self-absorbed, rich widow and her daughter; the beautiful Monica with a secret past; and the interesting Mr. Neville. I wanted more of a story here. I found myself zoning out a lot. I know that learning about the other hotel guests was an integral part in helping Edith to confront her own issues with herself, but I just found it very boring. She was too preoccupied with the others because she was afraid to reveal any part of herself to the guests or even to the reader. If I were more of a fan of poetry, I would have probably enjoyed this more because the language is meant to be quite beautiful. I felt like Edith was too nosy and hypocritical. I also felt that Mr. Neville’s proposal was odd and forced. Brookner spent too much time on the descriptions and then had to rush the ending a bit to tie up Edith’s loose ends. Her revelations about her true self were anti-climatic for me because I wasn’t very invested in the story.

My rating: 1 star