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My Last Five Reads

October 3, 2016

 

 

Hello everyone!! I hope you have all been well in my absence. I really have no excuse as to why have not posted lately other than I have let other things get in the way! I have been reading, so that is good news. I just have not had the time to sit down and write about them. So, real quick like I am going to tell you about the last five books I have read. 

 

 

I am sure that all of you are well aware that this play came out a few weeks ago - and like many of you , I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I often tell of how I used to read the books under my desk at work because I had to know what was going to happen next. So, I was so excited to get back into the world of J.K. Rowling. 

 

That being said - it is clear that this was based upon the ideas of Ms. Rowling, but this was not written by her.  It was amazing to get back into the Harry Potter world, and I was so glad to see some of my old friends.  But, none of the new characters had any of the development or depth that I have come to expect from a Harry Potter book. The story focuses on the sons of both Harry and Draco - as the go back in time to change history - specifically the death of Cedric from book 4. I don't want to give too much plot away, because it did keep me guessing throughout.  Who are the good guys and who are the ones to watch out for. But overall, I think that my expectations of a Harry Potter novel are so high that I was just let down by the hype.  ------- 3 books

 

 

This is the second novel I have read by Ms. Strout. I read and really enjoyed her Pulitzer Prize winner - Olive Kitteridge. And this novel itself was on the long list for the Booker Prize and had received some strong reviews from people I trust.  The story focuses on Lucy Barton as she recovers from a mysterious illness that takes her away from her family and places her in hospital for a few weeks.   Her husband, unable to deal with the hospital himself, invites Lucy's mother to come sit with her. Lucy has not seen her mother for a number of years, so there is tension that underlies every interaction.

 

Ms. Strout is a very good writer. There are amazing lines that really made me understand why this novel got the attention that it did.  But, just like my last book, this novel is falls short in developing any of the characters beyond the point they are supposed to make in the narrative. Lucy is a women who got out of a living situation that was poor and tough. She was smart, and through school was able to go to college and marry "up" as it is says. Her parents and siblings never seem to forgive her for this, and I am  not sure that I understand why?? Why resent that someone did better for themselves? It is not clearly explained.  None of the other characters are flushed out enough do really understand why they made it into the book in the first place.  But, that being said, overall I enjoyed it. Though I would really recommend Olive Kitteridge more. --- 3 books

 

 

I picked this book up because it was a staff pick at the new bookstore that has popped up in my area of town. I had seen the cover a number of times, but did not know a lot about it.  The novel itself focuses on the dreams that Albert Einstein had as he developed his Theory of Relativity. In that, it almost reads like little short stories. Each story has a bit of a plot - but it really focuses on the idea of time within the dream.  They are really there to get you thinking - and for me the certainly did.  I enjoyed reading the world - and think that the author has an amazing way with language.  His background is in Physics - and that comes through in his passion for the subject. 

This book reminded me a lot of Invisible Cities by Calvino.  There is no real overall story or arc that you are following - but you are being shown small glimpses of worlds that point out to you how lucky you are to live in the one you do.  I highly recommend this novel.  --- 4 books

 

 

I picked this book up at Bookshop Santa Cruz at the recommendation of my friend Curtis. It kind of hits a ton of buttons for me - a fantasy world where librarians are the heroes! Come on now. This is the story of "Father" a good like figure that has study the world over time and created libraries for different topics where you can read and become almost mystical in your area of expertise. At the start of the book our main character and her brothers/sisters have all been kicked out of their home and Father is missing.

 

I have to say that when this book kicked off I was hooked. I thought that the world building was amazing - and the background and ideas behind each area of the library and character was so well thought out.  This book is a mystery by nature, so I don't want to give the plot away. But I will say that once the mystery is solved, about 3/4 of the way through, the book slows down a lot and gets bogged down in its own cleverness.  I really enjoyed it - but by the end I was glad it was over. --- 3 books.

 

 

This book was purchased because it has a quote from Paul Auster and Junto Diaz on it. Two of my very favorite authors. Originally written in Japanese, this novel focuses on the relationship that builds between three characters - A math professor that was in a horrible accident and cannot remember anything that happened after 1975 and creates no new memories that last longer than 80 minutes - his new housekeeper who comes to take care of him - and her son. None of the characters have names - the Professor is called the same, the son is called by the nickname Root (because his head reminds one of the square root simple) and the main character. 

 

This book is all about two things: 1. relationships can be built in many different ways and can be very important to people for very different reasons.  For me it  was the beautiful development of the relationship between the Professor and Root and how they overcome the issues at hand to need and love each other for what they are.  and 2. the beauty of math.  I will tell you right now - I am not a math person.  But the author does such an amazing job of making math almost poetic in nature that I was dreaming about prime numbers myself.  I really enjoy books that are simply about people and relationships.  So, I was on board with this. I actually bought her other two books right after I finished. --- 4 books

 

Again, I am sorry that I have been missing lately and hope that these five books will put something on your TBR. See you soon! 

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