Friday, August 27, 2010

A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul

I had mixed feelings about this book. It was a frustrating story for me. The central character, Mohun Biswas, spends his entire life trying to establish an independent identity for himself, symbolized by his aspirations of owning his own house. Some say that the symbolism also is a commentary on colonialism...the struggle of nations to free themselves from colonial rule (such as England over Trinidad and Tobago). Mr. Biswas struggles because he lacks the skills needed to push himself out of dependence upon his wife's family because of lack of education and opportunity.

The exposure to Indo-Hindu culture was interesting for me.

Naipaul is a Nobel Prize winner and this book is the one that thrust him into worldwide acclaim as a writer.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

I found this book so engaging, I could hardly put it down. There is some serious language and sexual content, so be warned about that. Nonetheless, I thought the story was so interesting and the characters so well developed. The book is told from the eyes of a man (both at the time the events occured and later when the same man is in his nineties and in a nursing home) who worked as a zoo vet. Set in the time of the end of the Great Depression, it brings in much of the perspective of that era, as well. I actually listened to this as a book on tape and would highly recommend it. They had two different men representing Jacob as a young man and one who read the old man part. The gentleman who read as the old man was fabulous and made the story come all the more alive for me. The younger man did a wonderful job with going between different accents of the characters. A very well done book on tape! Some great messages on relationships with animals and on aging.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar

I really enjoyed reading In the Country of Men! I found it a difficult book to put down and would have preferred to read it in a single sitting. The most interesting thing about the book is that it describes life in Libya under Muammar el-Qaddafi following the Libyan Revolution. It describes the heroism of many as they fought for democracy against the tyrannical government. Inspiring as Matar tells his story through the eyes of a nine year boy living in this situation.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Child Called "It": One Child's Courage to Survive by Dave Pelzer

WOW! The must-read, inspirational story of Dave Pelzer's survival of childhood abuse. Dave Pelzer's story gives hope of surviving the worst of situations and rising above those those to still love and forgive. Looking to read the other books written by Mr. Pelzer!

The Brass Dolphin by Joanna Trollope

Set in Malta, The Brass Dolphin is an almost Jane Austen-ish story of life and love in Malta during the time of the 2nd World War. The history and culture of Malta was unknown to me, so I found that very interesting. I thought the writing was beautiful and captivating as was the story, itself.