Saturday, January 24, 2015

Weekly Wrap - January 24th

This has been good reading week. In addition to our monthly book club meeting, I was able to make more progress on the Maine Reader's Choice Long list, visit with a cousin who appears annually this time of year, get some preliminary tax filing paperwork done, try out a couple new recipes, and spend quite a bit of time in front of the fire (our high temp this week actually climbed to 43ish last Sunday. Overnight it consistently dipped to the 0° mark (sometime even going below!)

Weekly reads include:

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
by Haruki Murakami

 I really wanted to like this one, but it was a huge disappointment. I lived in Japan for 5 years so I recognized many of the locales and foods in the story, about the damaged psyche of a 20 something year old male whose friends dump him suddenly in his early college years.  He rambles around feeling sorry for himself, contemplating suicide, and struggling to relate to women until he can find out why he got booted off the team.  The ending is particularly "meh."  Frankly,the first word of the title describes the entire book perfectly; "COLORLESS".  Although the author would have us think this is his purpose to describe poor Tsukuru's life, it works for the whole book: it's just plain boring. The book jacket is the best part of the book.

* * * *

On Such A Full Sea
By Chang-Rae Lee

I'm having "conflictions" about this one. Parts of the story were cleverly written, a couple of the characters were well-drawn, but I just didn't get it, and I hated the ending. I don't normally do futuristic sci-fi, dystopia or futuristic looks at manufactured foods, manufactured family units, and regimented societies. This one has all of those elements and a story line that just didn't grab me, even with the cleverly and thinly disguised setting of my hometown, Baltimore.

* * * *

by Bret Anthony Johnson

A Stunner!   A true page turner.   I read this (not even in audio) in less than 24 hours.  Could not put it down.  Set in hot, muggy Corpus Christi Texas, it tells the story of the psychological impact of  child kidnapping, missing children search, on not only the immediate family of the victim but the community at large.  The characters are drawn in fine lines...we feel every emotion, we ride the emotional roller-coaster with them, and as a reader, you do not put this down until you're finished.  I can't tell the story without spoiling it, but it's definitely going into the hopper for my book club to discuss sometime this year, and it will be on my list of those I want to advance from the long to the short list for the Maine Reader's Choice Award.  5 stars.


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