Saturday, November 12, 2011

Reading Update

I have been doing a lot of rereading lately, and I'm in the middle of several books. I haven't finished much. But here's what I have read:

Book #37 was The True History of Paradise: A Novel, by Margaret Cezair-Thompson. I picked this one up because of the Caribbean connection; it's a novel about the history of Jamaica. It's told by Jean Landing, a woman who has finally had enough of her country and is planning to leave. During the course of her drive across the country with her dear friend Paul, she revisits her whole life, plus the story of the island, told in short vignettes from the point of view of selected ancestors. There's an earthquake in the story, and there's plenty of human turmoil as well. Perhaps because of this turmoil of both kinds, I almost put the book down permanently several times, but eventually I was glad I had persisted. I got a good picture of Jamaica and what might make someone both love it and want to leave it. The epigraph of the book is a quote from V.S. Naipaul: "The history of these islands can never be satisfactorily told." I'm glad that people keep trying.

Book #38 was Mothers & Other Liars, by Amy Bourret. Although there were aspects of the storytelling that I liked, I didn't find the premise of this book convincing at all. Ruby Leander finds a baby in a trash can and her first instinct, rather than to inform the authorities, is to get a fake birth certificate and transport the child across state lines, thus committing a felony. Ten years later, Ruby sees an article in a magazine that she knows is about her child. Turns out, the baby wasn't abandoned at all, but while the mother was out driving around trying to get her child to sleep, she was carjacked and the carjackers ditched the baby. (Don't you hate it when that happens?) Now Ruby is involved with a cop and is pregnant, and her method for dealing with the whole mess is even less believable than her original act. I just didn't buy any of this, so it was hard for me to suspend disbelief enough to get into the story.

Book #39 was a YA title from my classroom, Surviving the Applewhites, by Stephanie S. Tolan. I enjoyed this one pretty well, and will be recommending it to my students.

This post is linked to the November 12th edition of the Saturday Review of Books.

No comments: