My Own Little Book Corner

Saturday, December 12, 2009

2009 Book Reviews #11

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

It's hard to start describing this book. It is actually a collection of short stories set in the town of Crosby, Maine. Through most of the stories Olive Kitteridge makes an appearance in some way - even if as just a mention. Through these snapshots we get a picture of the how others view Olive and eventually as she views herself. She is an interesting character and through out the book she reminded me of different people I know. But this book is about more than Olive. In one of the chapters an observation is made about seeing the houses around us and not really knowing what kind of life people have. To me this book is a glimpse into many lives. It is a somewhat sad story in that so many of the glimpses are of the things that are wrong in their lives. Even when I was beginning to feel a little cheery half-way through reading Winter Concert, that story took a turn. This story offered many different perspectives on people and events in life and is one of those that after reading has stayed with me a little.

Belong to Me by Marisa Los Santos

really enjoy Marisa de los Santos and her style of writing. She has an almost lyrical way with words. This story covers some heavy topics when you step back and think about it, but she writes in such a way that you don't feel burdened, but rather that it is all part of life and the ebb of flow of good and bad times. I read "Love Walked In" last year and while you do not have to read it to understand this story, it will add a little depth and understanding to some of the characters. A good book.

The Last Noel by Michael Malone

I enjoyed this book about friendship, kindness, struggle, love and family. The book covers 30 years of friendship between Noni and Kaye - a white rich girl and a poor black boy. The story is told over 12 Christmas days which also coincides with Noni's birthday, Kaye's birthday and the anniversary of when they met. Some of it is predictable but there are a few twists. It is a bittersweet story with layers to be peeled away and upon which to reflect.

Water Witches by Chris Bohjalian

Not my favorite by Chris Bohjalian - (that would be Skeletons at the Feast) but it is still a good story. It is an environmentalistic novel that mixes drought, lawyers, water witches, and business. I like Mr. Bohjalian's writing style and enjoyed this one too.

A Widow for One Year by John Irving

Another book that definitely isn't my favorite by the author. (In this case that would be A Prayer for Owen Meany.) This book is complicated for me to describe. I like how Mr. Irving develops his characters but the situations in this book were not what I normally read. There were times that I wanted to put it down, but like one of the characters in the book who is an author - I had a need to see what would happen. Besides that I felt like it ended abruptly in some ways - almost a manufactured ending in my eyes = but one that was trying to make you think up your own ending. To me it was so manufactured that I really didn't care what happened to the characters once the story ended.

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