22 12 / 2013

This was a different reading experience. It made me feel a little old, as if the format, the experience, the world, and the author were all of such a different generation that there was no way to relate to it. And it takes place in San Francisco, which always makes a novel a bit precious. Yet, you have a protagonist that is interesting and deeply self-analytic (there’s the San Francisco part) and he invites you to identify with the issues he is facing even if they are foreign. It sucks you in, and you end up convinced that the author has something here. Looking forward to more from this youngish author. He does bleak really well. I could almost compare him to Stuart O’Nan except that I can’t figure out why.

22 12 / 2013

It’s a nice time of year to just curl up with a book, and a thriller always fits the bill. This one is described as gritty. It holds your attention and keeps you turning the pages, and isn’t that all you really want from a thriller anyway? I would definitely read another one of his books.

22 12 / 2013

This is a loaded title that will catch anyone’s eye who has both a mother and a daughter. But what it really is, is a kind of self-indulgent memoir that probably helped the author “process” her life. It is well written, and that redeems it.

22 12 / 2013

Well written escape stuff. They say it is a psychological thriller, and it fits the bill.

06 12 / 2013

I am an absolute sucker for college admission novels. It’s such a great transition period in life, and so much fun to read about. This one is a really good one with great characters. The ending is really weak, but who cares. We all know there is no end to what rich parents will do, but you end up feeling so sorry for all these people that play the game with extra accoutrements which end up being baggage. In this book the kids kind of win, but the adults most certainly do not. Smirking just slightly on that one.

06 12 / 2013

I’m a fan, and have been for years. It is satisfying to see Bohjalian branching out into historical novels. This one takes place in Italy both during and after World War 2. He’s smart to pick up one dilemma and work with it, much as he has always done. This reads well, though his characters are not very loveable. But I suppose that they should not be and that is the point—human fragility.

06 12 / 2013

I think this is a first novel for Kelly, and I hope she continues writing. This was more of a thriller than I anticipated, and it went all over the place with twists and turns. A good read.

19 11 / 2013

I was excited to read this, because I had read one of her other books, The Boy in the Suitcase, and really enjoyed it. By the end of this book, I was engaged in the book, but it was not easy going. It might possibly be the fault of the translation, but the style of the book as it skipped around in location and time period was difficult to follow. It was also difficult to make the necessary connections, though of course the end brought it together. I went back and read the opening pages and a few more things clicked into place. I almost wanted to read the book again, because I thought I’d get more out of it on a second read. But there are only a very few books that I have ever reread. I do like the characters, since not a one of them shines as being a paragon of any virtue. They are totally human, and the author presents them well. I see that there are three in this series. I’ll have to go find the one I missed. Thumbs up for Nordic suspense!

18 11 / 2013

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I was so happy to see a new book from Sujata Massey as I’ve really enjoyed her Rei Shimura series. It seemed strange to see a novel from her set in India, but I gave it a try and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a saga, and though long, reads very smoothly. It’s quite easy to get caught up in the story of Kamala. This historical period is presented lightly and naturally, but if you don’t know anything about Indian history, it seems like a good way in. I’m guessing that a sequel will follow, and I look forward to that. This is quite an enjoyable read, and is more about the story than the writing itself. That is, it isn’t one of those flowery and descriptive books that popular Indian authors write, but if you like sagas, this will hit the spot.

08 11 / 2013

Here is yet another book about parenting in other cultures. There have been a rash of these books that I’ve encountered in the last year or so. This one was particularly engaging since the author talked a lot about her years in Japan and her experience there. It seems well-researched and gave me some interesting things to think about. But it is a little bit been there, done that in some places. Maybe I am just reading too many of these? It did make me reflect unexpectedly on my own child-rearing experiences and realize how fortunate I was to have access to two different cultural perspectives. If these books help people to realize that there are more than one way to do things, then I’m all for it. But you can’t raise a child in a vacuum, and if your surroundings don’t give with your philosophy then you’re out of luck. Still though, if we can take the good and the wise from other cultures, then today’s parents are lucky to have resources like this.