Saturday, March 14, 2009

Uncomplicated reading

Last night I was curled up with a really good book, "Interpreter of the Maladies" by Jhumpa Lahiri and it led me to thinking about reviewing some other books which I have read lately and which ones were actually worth reading and others I wouldn't want anyone else to waste time on because they weren't that great. So here goes.....

"Middlesex" by Jefferey Eugenides. One of the truly amazing books which I read a couple of months ago. This is a page turner. It is a book that you would love to read in one sitting because it is difficult to put down. It chronicles the story of a Greek-American immigrant family from their roots in Smyrna (1920's) to their life in Detroit (1960's). It is narrated through the eyes of Calliope Stephanides and details her life and experiences intertwined with those of her parents' and grandparents'. I don't want to give anything away because there are a lot of twists and turns and many shockers in this book. I have passed it on three times and there is a 4th person in the wings who is waiting for it. My goodness, my brother read it and he only reads user guide manuals. 10/10.

"A Complicated Kindness" by Miriam Toews. This book was a huge disappointment for me. I picked it up on the advice of people on the web who said it was a good book. It also won the Governor General's Award and that fired up my interest and I purchased it. It centers around Nomi Nickel, a teenager with angst, growing up in a strict Mennonite community, where she is trying to come to terms with issues a young girl faces. Her mother's brother is head of their church and there are restrictions placed on her and her family. This book was not my cup of tea. For all of you out there who require plot twists and surprises, this is not for you either. The tone throughout this book is one of heavy sedation. The dialogue is so boring that you feel that they are discussing the weather throughout the entire book. Even when certain events do take place which are milestones in a young girl's life you don't take notice because they are written in such a mundane fashion that with frustration you have to turn back and reread. Unfortunately I could not get the time, which was lost reading this book, back and therefore do not recommend it. Still could not understand how it won a GG award. 3.5/10

"The Birth House" by Ami McKay. This book centers around the main character, Dora Rare who happens to be the first girl after five generations of men in the Rare household. The book starts off with her apprenticeship to Ms. Marie Babineau who happens to be the only midwife in the poor Nova Scotian fishing village. Ms. Babineau passes down to Dora a slew of information on midwifery including a book on an array of herbs and recipes which cure many ailments, (e.g. croup, lack of menstruation) etc..... With the arrival of a Dr. Gilbert Thomas on the scene, a doctor who wants to open up a birthing hospital, the traditional childbearing practices of the women in the small village are challenged and along with a series of plot twists this is an intresting read. It is a little bit predictable though at times and certain issues fall too perfectly in place. I do recommend it but it is not an extraordinary book. Light read. 6.5/10

I have picked up so many books at Indigo that I wish to read that my list is forever growing. Hoping this small review will be a help to some. 'Til next time. Happy reading......

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