Some of My Favorite Books

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares

My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares. This is the first of Brashares' books I've read. She also wrote those traveling pants books and The Last Summer (of You and Me).

Well, this was a different book. The premise is unlike anything I've ever read. Daniel is a soul that remembers all of his past lives from 1,200 years ago. He can't remember when his birthday is (which one?) and pines after Sophia/Lucy, a girl/woman he loves and has loved through the ages. In this case, forever.

This book was totally unique in the premise but so unbelievable that I have mixed feelings about it. Toward the end, I found some of the fantasy elements a little too tricky. But then again, I tend to lean toward the boring, matter of fact novels that could really happen.

Book Read:  My Name Is Memory
Author:  Ann Brashares
ISBN:  978-1-594478-758-3

Friday, September 17, 2010

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

I borrowed this book, Housekeeping, from my son. He has quite the library of an assortment of books, both fiction and nonfiction. Some books he's read, some he hasn't yet. I've read other books by Marilynne Robinson and the last one I'd read, Gilead, was long and a little like slogging through thick mud in sandals. But I'd seen the movie of the book Housekeeping. The book was published in 1980. And the movie was wonderful. And turns out so is the book.

When I was finishing this book, my mind was on a friend from high school who died this week from cancer. It was shocking. She has a little boy and had been sick more than a year but no updates were posted online for a few weeks so it was a surprise. Not a good one. And then last night as I was finishing this book, I read this passage that made me think even more of Claudia:

"There is little to remember of anyone--an anecdote, a conversation at table. But every memory is turned over and over again, every word, however chance, written in the heart in the hope that memory will fulfill itself, and become flesh, and that the wanderers will find a way home, and the perished, whose lack we always feel, will step through the door finally and stroke our hair with dreaming habitual fondness, not having meant to keep us waiting long."

It was a fitting tribute to losing a friend. A friend I only kept in contact with online and through a few cards I'd sent to her while she was in the hospital, but a friend who was always herself. Always happy, with a smile and laugh that was unmistakable. Farewell, Claudia.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Split Image, A Jesse Stone Novel by Robert B. Parker

I'm a big fan of the Jesse Stone movies on television. You know the ones--Stone Cold, Sea Change, Death in Paradise--with Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone, the chief of police of Paradise, Massachusetts. Or maybe you don't. 

But I don't miss these movies. The spare language delivered so well by Tom Selleck, his mostly gloomy demeanor, his face! Any way, I'd never read any of the Jesse Stone novels, and there are 8 others.

In fact, I'd never read any of Robert B. Parker's books. He wrote the Spenser novels that Spenser for Hire was based on and the Sunny Randall novels, the western Appaloosa that the 2008 movie was based on. He was prolific. And as I usually do, I looked up Parker online. I thought he'd died recently. Yep, in January of this year of a heart attack. Darn. But he left more than 50 books and since I've only read this one, I have some catching up to do.

I liked Parker's writing style. It didn't get in the way of the story, but sometimes his writing is abrupt. Very abrupt. Like the last sentence in this almost flowery paragraph, flowery for him, any way:

After lunch they walked back to the station, where Sunny had parked. It was late summer, and cooler than it usually was in August. The sky seemed clean and fresh, and the air was soft. The houses of the old town were built intimately next to each other and to the street. There were a lot of people walking around.

Book Read:  Split Image
Author:  Robert B. Parker
ISBN:  978-0-399-15623-6

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz

I finally finished this book last night around 1 a.m. Finally. I picked up The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz at the library because I saw that he also wrote Reservation Road. I haven't read that book but really liked the movie. I think I would like the book Reservation Road better than I liked The Commoner.

This was a good book, very thorough in developing the characters, the customs of the Japanese Chrysanthemum Throne, and this fictitious look at an outsider (a commoner) marrying into the monarchy. Maybe it's that foreign thing I have; I usually can't get into books set elsewhere and certainly can't relate. But this was a good book with an even better ending than I imagined, in my opinion.

Book Read:  The Commoner
Author:  John Burnham Schwartz
ISBN:  978-0-385-51571-9


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