Saturday, May 23, 2009

Five Books

The Road of Lost Innocence is the biography of a woman who was sold as a Cambodian sex slave. Her experiences are beyond awful, yet, there is a power to her story. Once she was able to escape that horrid life she turned her efforts into freeing other young girls. This is a book that is hard to put down, and yet I almost had to take breaks from it - it was just too much. I can only stomach so much rape and fear and betrayal at a time. As tragic as it all is, there is power and redemption throughout her story.

May's Book Club was this 1960s Russian novel which follows a man through a day in the Soviet Gulag. Through a series of flashbacks you learn Ivan's personal story and how his experience tells the greater story of life under Stalin's Russia. This book is certainly strong and insightful, but I would recommend Journey Into the Whirlwind as an even more compelling read on life under Stalin. (Whirlwind is an incredibly powerful non-fiction story about a woman sent to a Siberian camp.)

Our book club is also reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane as a fun book to read with your kids over the summer. For some reason, my boys were not in the least interested, but I still liked it. While it's a short book that kids can read on their own, it still held my attention. In the same vein as the Velveteen Rabbit, Edward Tulane is forced into various circumstances that teach him what is means to love and be loved.

When I asked my friend Becky for a light "beach read", she suggested Undomestic Goddess. The title alone made me love it, and when I unexpectedly discovered that it was by Sophie Kinsella, author of the Shopaholic series, I knew it would be perfect. I think Undomestic Goddess is actually my favorite of Kinsella's books. While I totally enjoyed the Shopaholic books, the main character kinda bugged me. Not so in Undomestic Goddess. The story is about a high-powered attorney who, quite accidentally, made a multi-million error. She freaks out and finds herself in the countryside where she impersonates a domestic servant. It's cute, funny, and the perfect vacation read.

My sister recommended The Nannies for my vacation. This is a youth series about three teenagers who become nannies to the super rich/famous in LA. It was an easy, light read. However, if you are looking for a great book about being a nanny that will make you both laugh and cry, then read The Nanny Diaries. (It was made into a movie a few years back, but even if you saw the movie, the book is still worth your time.)

Our family is heading to Florida in just a few weeks, and I need some more "mind candy" books for the trip. Any suggestions?


Julie Ramsay said...

We're reading the book thief for book club this month. I've heard its good...

Krista and Jeff said...

I just finished The Shell was really good. I've been told there is another, but I still need to look into it. I loved Undomestic Goddess as well...I'm reading a bunch of Jody Picoult right now...I'm on my fourth of her books... not series books, but all really good!

Lorie said...

I can tell you what NOT to read... that "Peace Like a River" book. I'll have to try some of these, I've had bad luck with books lately.

talitha said...

I honestly loved Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking. I'll warn you, it ain't no Mormon memoir...but I laughed out loud...a lot.

ganelle said...

Julie: I read Book Thief for my book club too, and really liked it.
Lorie: I think I'll skip Peace Like a River, Kristy's warned me about that one!
Krista and Happy Mom: I've requested both those books. Thanks for the rec.!

Vern said...

That crazy "Cat In The Hat" still gets me every time. "And Sally and I did not know what to do...." They were ASKING for trouble.

Mom of Three said...

Did you ever read the T for Trespass book? I just got a new one, but I'm finishing the Inkheart series. You might like those. They are young adult books about people who can read others out of a story. They end up getting read into the story too, and tell it from that perspective. It is an interesting fantasy book about the power of words versus reality, but is still a pretty light read, since it is for youth.

Beeswax said...

I liked Peace like a River. And I liked his next book: So Brave, Young, and Handsome. Beautifully written. Not really beach reads. Neither is Book Thief. Read it somewhere you can weep in peace. Loved Undomestic Goddess. The Shopoholic movie just wasn't as witty as the books!

For light reads: I just finished reading Freddy and Fredericka by Helprin. Semi light. Barbara Kingsolver (Bean Trees and sequels), Adriana Trigiani (Big Stone Gap books), Amy Tan. That Potato peel pie book was very nice, too. And since I don't know know so you can't tell anyone I know, I read Bridget Jones' Diary (and edge of reason) over and over. And over. Even though Bridget is a naughty girl with a terrible potty mouth. Is actual literary candy. For a similar good time, try Jennifer Weiner. Oh and the Pink Carnation books. But not the last one. Was ick.

I also need some vacation books! THanks for the post!

Gerbera Daisy Diaries said...

These may not be light, beach reads...but some of my favorite in the past 6 months...

The Middle Place, by Kelly Corrigan
Dreamers of the Day, by Mary Doria Russell
Mudbound, Hillary Jordan
The Zookeeper’s Wife, Diane Ackerman
The Heretic’s Daughter, Kathleen Kent

And for fall on the floor funny -- but would NEVER pass a Bishop's interview...anything by Jen Lancaster.

Gerbera Daisy Diaries said...

Thanks for the Puffy rec!! I've seen it at B&N -- but haven't known enough about it to read it.
I'm OCD when it comes to reading and books...I liked your post. I've read The Book Thief too...finished it in a drs office, crying like a baby.