Current Reads III

Blankets by Craig Thompson

Blankets

An achingly accurate portrayal of  what growing up in a rigidly fundamentalist Christian household does to a person and how it shapes their childhood, teenage years, first love, and who they eventually become. I’m usually not drawn to graphic novels (unless it’s Tin Tin or now Preacher...then I’m hooked), but once I began this one I couldn’t put it down. El Guapo recommended it to me, and now I recommend it to you.

Remember Ben Clayton by Stephen Harrigan

Remember Ben Clayton

You know how after finishing a book you feel a sense of loss? And picking up a new book almost seems indecent?

This is the kind of book I wish for when I start a new one. Excellent character development, a realistic setting, a plot that moves at exactly the right pace, and a book gently guides the reader from place to place.

It’s the story of a statue. A piece commissioned by a grieving father who’s only son is buried somewhere in France during World War 1. It’s also the story of the sculptor, his daughter, and of course the story of a heartbroken father. But it’s mostly the story of kinships and affinities and how nothing is ever like it is in stories.

The Lake House by James Patterson

The Lake House

Remember how I said that I’d read anything by James Patterson–even a Hallmark card or an obituary? I still stand by that, but this is by far and hands down the worst J. Patt book I’ve ever read. Maybe even one of the worst books I’ve ever read.

The entire time I was reading I was disappointed by the unrealistic characters (bird people? really, James?), the terrible plot points (people trying to kill the bird people because they can fly? you’ve got nothing more creative than that?), and the clumsy foreshadowing (“…but they knew that something bad was going to happen. Something very bad.”). The idea had potential, but I just don’t think that this was the right author for the job.

Did I mention that even though “the lake house” was referred to a couple of times, nothing actually ever occurred there? A better title for this book would have been “Bad Sci-Fi by a Guy Who Should Stick to Crime Writing.”

Hour Game by David Baldacci

Hour Game

On a nicer note, I’ve recently read two very good and very different books by David Baldacci. The first is this–Hour Game. In it, two ex-Secret Service agents turned PIs investigating a small time burglary end up in a chase for their lives running down a serial killer who apparently slays at random and who mimics a different famous serial killer with each killing.

Trust me, it’s not nearly as corny as I just made it sound. In fact, it’s really quite good.

Wish You Well by David Baldacci

Wish You Well

The second Baldacci book I’ve recently read is unlike anything else of his that I’ve read and proves that Baldacci is a skilled enough to write about other things besides crime, murder, suspense, or government. Rather, it is a story of two kids who, after a tragic accident, must go live with their great-grandmother (whom they’ve never met) on a farm on top of a mountain in rural Virginia is 1940. To the New York City kids, living without electricity and having to wake before dawn to do chores in order to be able to eat is shocking.

It’s a subtle book, but not one that leaves you. I’ve been thinking about since I turned the last page. Actually, it made me incredibly grateful for all that I have and challenged me to be more vocally thankful while not taking those “little things” like hot water and people you love for granted.

So Many Enemies…So Little Time: An American Woman in All the Wrong Places by Elinor Burkett

So Many Enemies

Oh dear heavens I love this book.

I’ve recently become interested in international politics (thank you, El Guapo) (I’m still a baby at this–don’t ask me hard questions) and have always loved travel writing. This book combines the two within a wonderfully readable narrative voice.

It’s the story of Elinor Burkett who is a Fulbright Professor teaching journalism in Kyrgyzstan for a year. Like most journalists, Elinor can’t just leave things alone. She delves into the heart of Kyrgyzstani traditions and beliefs, questions her student why they so blindly follow their government, and fields all sorts of hard questions about the United States.

It’s more than just a documentary about her time in Kyrgyzstan, however. She and her husband travel all over Central Asia, visiting Iran, Iraq Afghanistan, Russia, and Uzbekistan a few months after 9/11 occurred. I won’t even try to describe everything that happened–but you need to read this book. Whether you’re a novice like me at world politics or a junkie who can still describe in intimate detail every portion of Khrushchev’s visit to the USA in 1959.

I’m excited to read more by Elinor Burkett.

That’s it for now.

suck it, martha

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Categories: Life, Media

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