Tag Archives: number 3 recommend

Room

Part of my plan for meeting new people after moving is to join clubs and go to different Meetup.com groups.  So far I have done none of that.  This weekend I was perusing the meetup.com groups I had joined and noticed that the book club was reading Emma Donoghue’s “Room.”  I knew the title sounded familiar and texted my beloved Emily to see if that was the book she kept telling me about, and it was.  So even though I was on a work trip in Hazleton, PA (the capital of fun, btw… sarcasm alert) I made a special trip to Barnes and Noble to pick up a copy.

That was yesterday at approximately 4:30pm.

I arrived back to my hotel around 6pm and began reading.

And read.
And read.
And read.

I had to force myself to put down the book to eat a late dinner (I actually read during dinner) and again to go to sleep.  Today I had to remove myself from the book even though my inner nerd wanted to carry it around with me.  I allowed myself to start reading again today at 4pm and I finished it by 5pm.

It was wonderful.  Scary.  Anxiety filled.  Sad.  Touching.  Thoughtful.  Unbearable.  Disgusting.  Loving.  Moving.  Memorable.

It was everything.

I have a hard time talking about any reads I really like because I am at a loss for words and I really just don’t want anyone to tell me I’m wrong. ;-)

So I’ll leave it to you to read and tell me what you thought.  I have some parts that I really didn’t care for, parts that I thought were perfect, parts that gave me an anxiety attack, and parts that I wonder how I would have written it.  The book leaves you wondering what you would have done, how you would have raised Jack, and how you’d cope with the aftermath.  Let me know when you’re finished and we can chat.

 

 

P.S. If you visit the interactive and shockingly confronting site you’ll see a quote from the author of The Time Traveler’s Wife that I think perfectly sums it up.

P.P.S. Some other reads I would recommend that “remind” me in way or another of Room are…

the curious incident of the dog in the night-time

Speak

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

 

 

Wicked. Am I Alone?

So I finally read WickedAfter seeing the play, being an avid fan of The Wizard of Oz, and hearing slews of people talking about the novel, I finally read it.  I knew the idea of the novel… that is was a “prequel” of sorts to TWOO but I hadn’t given much thought to what Wicked would actually be about; until a few weeks ago while relaxing on the beach.

My cousin was tearing through Wicked like only a girl can who prefers reading over eating.  She laid on the beach for hours, ignoring her nephew, her favorite cousin (ahem), and the beautiful ocean.  At night, back at the beach house, she would lay on the couch and read and read and read.  She was so engrossed in the novel, she stayed up late every night to finish.  I’m thinking, man this must be some rad book.  She got me even more interested when she tells me there is bestiality, adultery, and murder.  More and more I’m thinking, I have got to get my hands on this novel.  Knowing my mom had a copy at home, I waited until I returned from the beach to begin this tale of debauchery.

Now while there is a slight hint of bestiality, it was not the full blown escapade I was expecting.  And even though there is adultery, it’s done in sort of a sweet way.  And the murder… well we already knew there was murder from TWOO.  And I was thinking it was going to be bloody battles escalated with an underlying thread of the ultimate struggle for power.  Obviously that power struggle exists, but the bloody battle I was so hoping for is absent.  The bloodiest we get is… (spoiler alert) Fiyero and Madame Morrible.  But they don’t really count in my opinion.  Bloody, perhaps, but a battle, no.

Something I didn’t get… and maybe it becomes clear once I finish the novel… is where does the “killing of the wicked witch of the west” scene from TWOO happen?  Because of Wicked, I was thinking it happens at Kiamo Ko.  But if memory serves me right, doesn’t Dorothy take the yellow brick road to get to the witch?  So how does she get to Kiamo Ko?  The map doesn’t show the YBR as coming near Kiamo Ko.  I need to keep reading to figure this one out…

I don’t know… am I alone in being slightly disappointed in this novel?  I haven’t reached the end yet and maybe that has something to do with it.  But honestly, if I can be honest with you dear devoted single number followers, I cannot wait for this to be over.  My cousin tore through it… two of them actually!  One finished and then bam! the next one finished.  And I cannot seem to finish.  This weekend, I thought, this weekend I will finish it.  I even brought home another novel from work to read thinking I’ll finish Wicked and then move on to the next one.  But no, I’m still not done.  I just want it to be over.

Overall, I am enjoying Wicked even if I can’t wait for it to be over.  I think Gregory Maguire is a genius for composing the witch’s back story and giving us reasons behind her anger and obsession with Dorothy.  But sometimes I think he went on a bit of a tangent and I would get confused.  I found myself having to read the novel during times and in spaces where I could concentrate and give it my utmost attention… no wonder my cousin zoned out on it!  The names, the places, and tribes were a lot to keep track of.  While the novel is enjoyable and intriguing, it is long and often times confusing.  I give it an inbetweener… my first inbetweener… it’s a 2 and a 3.

Briar Rose

Briar Rose
Jane Yolen
Tor Books, November 1993
Tor Teen, March 1992

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen was my second Book Club pick for my Club of 2.  Originally published in 1993, Briar Rose is part of the Windling’s Fairy Tale series which is a collection of novels inspired by classic fairy tales.  Yolen chose the story of Briar Rose (also known as Sleeping Beauty) and links it to the Holocaust.  That link, plus the fact that it is marketed as a young adult novel series, is what made me choose this read.

Some of you may know, but one of my literary interests is Holocaust novels and memoirs.  If something is remotely related to the Holocaust, I snatch it up.  I was beyond excited when a Holocaust course was being offered my second to last semester in grad school because it gave me the chance to expand my knowledge and grasp the lingo for discussing such material.  My first semester of grad school, I had the privilege of taking a course in Fairy Tales and was surprised to learn they aren’t what Disney taught us.  A little background knowledge, if you will?

Fairy Tales were originally meant for an adult audience only.  They didn’t, in fact rarely, have a happy ending and discussed such things as incest, murder, and rape.  The Grimm Brothers are often credited as being the first fairy tale-ers, however they adopted and collected fairy tales from before the 17th century.  In fact, because fairy tales began as an oral tradition, it is actually hard to pinpoint their origin.  Over time, the tales were altered to remove some of the more frightening elements to make them more appropriate for a younger audience.  Disney then took these adoptions of adoptions of adoptions and adapted them once more to fit the children’s movie scene.  Thought to be wonderful movies to entertain the masses, Disney’s movies are actually riddled with sexism (sorry to ruin it).  If you listen closely to the lyrics, you’ll hear themes such as male domination, women’s obedience, and beauty trumps brains.  For example, my favorite Disney movie is Beauty and the Beast.  I loved it since I was little because Belle had dark hair like mine, loved to read, and was imaginative.  However, as I got older I realized Belle was made fun of for being smart, catered to her Dad’s every need, and abandoned her reading to be a princess.  Gaston sings of his ability to dominate Belle and even though Belle resists, she doesn’t exactly opt for the independent life.  Instead, she shacks up with the Beast, uses her feminine charms to turn him into a proper man, and only shows a passing excitement at the library he gives her access to.  Gotta love the Beast.  But I digress… back to Briar Rose

When I learned that Briar Rose was a combination of three of my favorite genres, I thought SCORE!  I admit that after reading the first few pages I began to think, crap, but I pushed through (a push through that lasted nearly a month for this 224 page large font book).  It was just so hard to get into!  I understand that as a young adult novel, Yolen has to write towards that audience.  Normally that is an angle I thoroughly enjoy.  However, I felt she spent too much time on setting up the story and not enough time in the actual plot.  Briar Rose begins in the small town of Holyoke where we meet Rebecca Berlin and her older sisters Sylvia and Shana.  The girls grew up hearing the tale of Briar Rose from their grandmother, Gemma, who kept the reasons behind the tale a closely guarded secret.  As Gemma’s health begins to rapidly deteriorate, Becca makes it her mission to find out her family’s history.  Becca promises Gemma on her deathbed that she will uncover the secret.

The second half of the novel follows Becca as she travels to Poland and learns of her family’s involvement in the Holocaust.  This is when the novel got good.  I don’t know if it is my devotion to Holocaust literature or if the novel simply picked up here, but I was captivated.  The tale Yolen weaves of how Gemma came to America and why the name księżniczka crops up is fascinating and leaves you wondering, could this really happen and, if so, how many times did it?

My overall impression of the book is one I wouldn’t necessarily recommend because of its slow entry.  My book club partner, however, enjoyed the read.  I give it a 3.  Read her review here!