Let’s catch up on our reading, shall we?
I’ve been all over the place, but until I started working at the Film Festival, I had more times on my hands than I knew what to do with. So I read, a lot.
Most of that time has actually been taken up with rereading the Harry Potter series, however. But I’ll save those for another rainy day blog!
Have you read any of these?
MY SISTER’S KEEPER BY JODI PICOULT
Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate — a life and a role that she has never challenged… until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister—and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.
Sometimes the writing style of this book really irritated me (there are SO MANY gosh darned diddly overly dramatic sentences) but the subject matter was just incredible. My goodness. I haven’t cried this hard over a book since I found out that lobsters are boiled alive. Picoult is a master at character and story development.
☆☆☆☆☆ / ☆☆☆☆☆
THE CURE FOR DEATH BY LIGHTNING BY GAIL ANDERSON-DARGATZ
The Cure for Death by Lightning takes place in the poor, isolated farming community of Turtle Valley, British Columbia, in the shadow of the Second World War. The fifteenth summer of Beth Weeks’s life is full of strange happenings: a classmate is mauled to death; children go missing on the nearby reserve; an unseen predator pursues Beth. She is surrounded by unusual characters, including Nora, the sensual half-Native girl whose friendship provides refuge; Filthy Billy, the hired hand with Tourette’s Syndrome; and Nora’s mother, who has a man’s voice and an extra little finger. Then there’s the darkness within her own family: her domineering, shell-shocked father has fits of madness, and her mother frequently talks to the dead. Beth, meanwhile, must wrestle with her newfound sexuality in a harsh world where nylons, perfume and affection have no place. Then, in a violent storm, she is struck by lightning in her arm, and nothing is quite the same again. She decides to explore the dangers of the bush.
It was hard for me to get into this book, but once I did, I couldn’t stop reading. Quite a bit of it grossed me out (warning: incest…bleh), but it’s an enchanting first book. There are a lot of supernatural elements, but it’s somehow poetic.
☆☆☆ / ☆☆☆☆☆
JACK THE KING OF ASHES BY ANDY JONES
Award-winning storyteller Andy Jones and illustrator Darka Erdelji are back, with Jack, the King of Ashes – another riotously funny Jack tale. This time Jack spends all his time hove off in the coal box. Then one day he shakes off those ashes and sets out on an adventure that includes sneaky robbers, a “famous missing princess with reward attached,” an always-surprising canine sidekick, a royal wedding, a lovelorn rooster-puppet, a conniving ship’s captain, corpses, curses, kisses, coats and a whole lot more!
I picked up this children’s book as a gift for a friend, but read it before sending (yeah, I’m that person). It is DELIGHTFUL! I literally could not stop laughing. There’s a lot of Newfoundland slang, though. Makes a great gift for adults too!
☆☆☆☆☆ / ☆☆☆☆☆
ROBINSON CRUSOE BY DANIEL DEFOE
Inspired by the life of Alexander Selkirk, a sailor who lived for several years on a Pacific island, the novel tells the story of Crusoe’s survival after shipwreck on an island, interaction with the mainland’s native inhabitants, and eventual rescue. Read variously as economic fable, religious allegory, or imperialist fantasy, Crusoe has never lost its appeal as one of the most compelling adventure stories of all time.
Crusoe should have stayed on that island.
☆☆☆ / ☆☆☆☆☆
HOW NOT TO TRAVEL THE WORLD BY LAUREN JULIFF
I had no life experience, zero common sense and had never eaten rice. I suffered from debilitating anxiety, was battling an eating disorder and had just had my heart broken. I hoped by leaving to travel the world I would be able to heal myself.
Instead, Lauren’s travels were full of bad luck and near-death experiences. Over the space of a year, she was scammed and assaulted, lost teeth and swallowed a cockroach. She fell into leech-infested rice paddies, was caught up in a tsunami, her motorbike’s brakes failed and she experienced a very unhappy ending during a massage in Thailand. It was just when Lauren was about to give up on travel that she stumbled across a handsome New Zealander with a love of challenges.
I feel like reading this book made me really understand everything Lauren has dealt with over the years (with her anxiety, etc.). I also found a LOT of this really frustrating, because so much of this “bad luck” could have been easily avoided. But overall, I was riveted the entire time. A great read.
☆☆☆☆ / ☆☆☆☆☆