Friday, January 8, 2010

Remnants of 2009

These books are some of the leftovers from 2009, unreviewed but not unappreciated. I just want to briefly share my thoughts on them for myself, perhaps you will find something that interests you.

Little Monsters by Charles Lambert - Reviewed by another blogger (who are you?), I ordered this one from the UK. An adolescent girl's father murders her mother and she is sent away to live with an uncaring (to put it mildly) aunt, uncle, and cousin. Her story goes back and forth from her growing-up years to her unconventional and what felt to be, fairly unstable adult life. This was okay for me.

A Northern Lightby Jennifer Donnelly - Cath always knows what I like, that's for sure. She told me I should try this, despite the fact that I thought the author's The Tea Rose was melodramatic. This young adult novel set in 1906 is gorgeously written, those who love books and words and learning will sympathize with main character Mattie who dreams to go away to college. Her mother's death makes her father want to keep her at home. I never fail to be surprised by the parent who wants their child to stay home and work on the farm, follow in their footsteps, get married and on it goes. Was it fear of education or they just wanted the extra hands? Mattie is torn between education and love and this all takes place as the backdrop of a very real and publicized murder of a young woman in the Adirondacks. Highly recommended.

Half of a Yellow Sunby Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - A complex novel set during the Nigerian Civil War, from the perspective of several characters including twin sisters, an academic, and his houseboy. I thought it was very, very well done and absorbing though I was a little disappointed in the ending.

Cherries in Winter: My Family's Recipe for Hope in Hard Timesby Suzan Colon - Lovely memoir by a woman whose life and career as a magazine editor were turned upside down by the current recession. In the interest of saving money, she goes back to those family recipes used during other hard times. I appreciated the author's candor and enjoyed this story of her life in and out of the kitchen. Many thanks to Doubleday for this review copy.

Four down, four to go!


bermudaonion said...

Nice wrap up - you've made me want to read A Northern Light.

BabelBabe said...

have you read Theodore Dreiser's An American tragedy? Classic take on the same tale as A Northern Light. I felt the same way about the author's other books, I spent most of the time reading them rolling my eyes. But I did enjoy them and really really liked ANL.

Staci said...

I loved A Northern Light...wonderful book for sure!! I want to read Half of a Yellow Sun sometime..glad to hear that it was absorbing. I read another great review of Cherries in Winter and this is a book that I think I would enjoy.

Ti said...

I was disappointed with Half of a Yellow Sun's ending too. It made for a good book group discussion though and I enjoyed the writing very much.

Cath said...

I'm glad you enjoyed A Northern Light! It's a shame her other books are not as good though.

Les said...

I really enjoyed Donnelly's The Tea Rose, but thought Winter Rose was overwrought and melodramatic. A Northern Light was also very good and I marked several passages to use in share in my review. I wonder if she has another book in the works? I was thrilled when she posted a comment on my review for A Northern Light!

Cherries In Winter sounds like an interesting memoir. Did she include any of the recipes? I wonder if they're worth trying.

Tara said...

Kathy, it's a good one!

Babelbabe, no I haven't read An American Tragedy, but yes, I knew that it is about the same murder. I should read it 'someday'!

Staci, I'm so glad I read it and didn't let my prejudice against her adult books stop me!

Ti, I was hoping for more closure, as I guess you were too. I think it would make for excellent discussion.

Cath, thank you for recommending it! Her other book I read wasn't bad, just...not as special, more 'mass market paperback' if that makes any sense.

Les, how thrilling to get a comment from the author. Interesting what she said about the Rose books as an homage, I do see her point. The author did include some recipes in Cherries in Winter! They're pretty old fashioned but certainly do-able.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Northern Light is on my 2010 list to read. I loved The Tea Rose and also plan to read Winter Rose this year.

Rebecca Reid said...

I've really been excited to read Half of a Yellow Sun. Sorry to hear the ending was disappointing!

Tara said...

Diane, I think you will like it!

Rebecca, it was more the ambiguity that was a disappointmet. Still a very good read.