Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Book time!

This month's books seemed to go in a thematic order or so you will see. Plus a bonus book I forgot to write about from last month!

15) Love & Obstacles - Aleksandar Hemon.
Last month I wrote about his book The Lazarus Project and how much I loved it. This collection of short stories, loosely autobiographical, is so much better. I spent most of this book reading it in downtown Albany in the sunshine and I think that helped my enjoyment of it. Don't miss this one. Hemon is quickly becoming one of my new favourite authors.

16) East of The Sun - Julia Gregson
I was skeptical about this one. It's the story of a group of young women in 1920s Great Britain who set off for various reasons to India. It seemed like a fluff chick lit piece and I didn't really care for the beginning. Once the story got to India, it was far more interesting. Gregson could have shaved a good 100 pp off the book and made it a fine novel. It does have a bit of White Man's Burden to it, but if you read it with that in mind, you might enjoy it. For a dollar, it was not a bad read.

17) The Space Between Us - Thrity Umrigar.
I got this one at the book swap I went to at St. Rose, and I couldn't have enjoyed this one more. Well, enjoyed is a relative term. The book is depressing, with slight hints of not being completely sad. It's like the counterpoint to East of the Sun, with an all-Indian cast(e). One of my favourite books so far this year.

18)Mistress of the Monarchy: The Life of Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster - Alison Weir.
Once again Weir gets her hooks into a medieval subject and makes the most of the material that's available to her (read: not much). Katherine herself is hard to draw out, and while Eleanor of Aquitaine and Isabella of France had more substantive records, Katherine is just a valuable and interesting subject. Fans of Weir will enjoy this, but don't make this your first of her books. PS: Fans of Geoffrey Chaucer will enjoy this one, as it contains a lot of discussion about him. I learned a lot about him myself.

19) Gods and Soldiers: The Penguin Anthology of Contemporary African Writing - Rob Spillman, ed.
This is the book I forgot to recap last month. This book truly does what Spillman set out to do -- show us all the parts of Africa, from Egypt to Guiana to South Africa and Namibia. Laila Lalami is also a part of this collection, further reinforcing the need for me to get more of her writing. There's a lot of authors in here that I truly enjoyed and will be looking into getting their books. And I really appreciate Patrice Nganang's piece which gave me the most to think about in the entire collection, and that's saying something. Definitely worth reading if you can get your hands on it.

Well, that's all for this month. What have you read lately? The next book I'm reading is Miracle at St. Anna, by James McBride.

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