December 13, 2008

Excellent Recent Reads:

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - excellent characters, intriguing storyline, with ethical questions (not the least of which: do the ends justify the means, and at what cost?) sprinkled throughout. Eldest Dude also just read this and could hardly put it down (school suffered for a couple days). Not a blanket endorsement for younger readers, tho, due to some language, violence, and situations. Only downer for me: the story is wrapped around "video game" and battlefield scenarios. Not my fav. I skimmed a bunch. But still, a really good book.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - a modern classic for good reason. Here are a couple quotes of note:

"Picture it. Nineteenth century man with his horses, dogs, carts, slow motion. Then, in the twentieth century, speed up your camera. Books cut shorter. Condensations. Digests. Tabloids. Everything boils down to the gag, the snap ending... Classics cut to fit fifteen-minute radio shows, then cut again to fill a two minute book column, winding up at last as a ten or twelve line dictionary resume... But many were those whose sole knowledge of Hamlet ... was a one page digest in a book that claimed: now at last you can read all the classics..."

"Clarisse McClellan? We've a record on her family. We've watched them carefully. Heredity and environment are funny things. You can't rid yourselves of all the odd ducks in just a few years. The home environment can undo a lot you try to do at school. That's why we've lowered the kindergarten age year after year until now we're almost snatching them from the cradle..."

"Do you know why books such as this [the Bible] are so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores. It has features. This book can go under the microscope. You'd find life under the glass, streaming past in infinite profusion. The more pores, the more truthfully recorded details of life per square inch you can get on a sheet of paper, the more 'literary' you are. That's my definition, anyway. Tell detail. Fresh detail. The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies."

The Little French Girl
by Anne Douglas Sedgwick - Heidi reviewed this wonderful book AND sent me a copy (and recommended each of the above books)! I'm so grateful. I'm loving this book. For all the reasons Heidi listed in her review. And because it's an almost haunting story. Every page is dripping with a big question, a mystery of sorts. But the unraveling of the story is subtle, mesmerizing, beautiful. This book has been like a tasty dessert to be savored. And so I am (I'm about halfway thru this book, as I type...).

Child of My Heart by Alice McDermott - this is a total "slice of life" type book. Alice McDermott is a skillful writer; each sentence is perfectly crafted. Definitely recommended.

And waiting in my stacks are the following books that I'm looking forward to:

The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith (part of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series)

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (another Heidi recommendation)

Villette By Charlotte Bronte (found at the library book store)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (a Di recommendation)

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Mama Peep said...

For a moment I thought I was on the wrong blog. All those words...... J/K :-)

I will have to look into these reads. They all sound great. I just finished reading Shantaram and am still haunted by it.

Thanks for sharing!


Heidi said...

I agree! All those words, it looked like a new place around here. :)

You really should do it more often, you use them well! I had the hardest time trying to think of words to describe The Little French Girl, and you did it so eloquently.

Isn't it amazing how many different worlds we can visit in the pages of books?

Keys to the Magic Travel said...

Ooooo books. How exciting :-)

I have never read "Ender's Game." I have been meaning to for forever...I need to go and reserve it at the library. I wonder if Katie would like it. I am reading "Nation" by Terry Pratchett right now. I think your oldest would like it...

tearese said...

I've read Farenheit 451, and have been meaning to read Ender's Game forever. Haven't read any of the others.

Beth@Pages of Our Life said...

Thanks for posting this Susan. I am excited about jumping into a new book and your info was very helpful.

I Love Purple More Than You said...

Oh, you've got me intrigued by Ender's Game!