Tuesday, December 17, 2013

don't you just love books?

But, seriously?

I love them so much.

Here is the second installment of book reviews of the novels, memoirs, etc. I've read on the train commuting to and from work.

Catfish and Mandala 
by Andrew X. Pham

This is a memoir about a Vietnamese-American's journey to Vietnam. I never figured out why it was called Catfish and Mandala since he never talks about either. I love the detail he uses while describing Vietnam--its beauties and its vices--I feel like I've been there now. I can't believe how sick he gets eating their food! You'll have to read it to see what I mean. I love the theme of being a stranger in both lands, not really belonging to Vietnam and not really belonging to America, since both persecute him. I love the exploration of immigrants who find themselves without a nation to completely call their own.

The Goose Girl
by Shannon Hale

This is your classic Disney-esque fairy tale. After the first few pages I was greatly considering not reading further. But, I'm glad I did because the story got better and her prose less annoying.I would have drooled over this book as a thirteen-year-old girl, which is the intended audience. But, it is entertaining and has a cute love story and all that so you should read it if you're looking for something light.

My Story
by Elizabeth Smart

Before I read this book, I watched an interview with Elizabeth Smart and the interviewer commented that Elizabeth holds nothing back in this book--that it's graphic and detailed. Thus, I was hesitant to read it, but also wanted to see her perspective. It wasn't as graphic as I thought it would be, but I can't believe the things she had to go through as a fourteen-year-old. The book also wasn't as bad as it could be because I knew it had a happy ending. It's incredible that someone can rise above the horrors and become a strong example to so many people.

One story that I love from her book is when she went without drinking water for three days. She prayed to God and pleaded with Him to somehow give her water or else she was going to die. That night, as she lay in the tent, something woke her up. She looked around and saw that both her captors were asleep. Then she looked to her other side and found a cup of cold, clear water. She'd never had a cold cup of clear water in the entire time she'd been kidnapped. She drank the water and instantly felt relieved. Upon remembering that moment, she says that there is no explanation for that cold cup of water other than it came from God.

That is undeniable.

I Am the Cheese 
by Robert Cormier

I heard rave reviews about this 1970's mystery novel. I read it in a day--it's engaging and exciting. I like the unreliable boy narrator who may or may not be crazy. I like the believable suggestions of mental illness and anxiety. The ending is definitely upsetting. I don't want to give a lot away, but I recommend you read it.

That's the second installment. I have a few more installments to go.

My book of the week: The Color Purple by Alice Walker. Not a very Christmas-y happy book (she gets raped on the first page) but powerful and beautiful nonetheless.

Happy Tuesday!

P.S. Christmas is next week! AH!

P.S.S. I love this image. Extroverts unite!

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