Masterpiece
*****
Excellent
**** 1/2
Very good
****
Good
**** 1/2
Just okay
***
Not for me
**
Definitely not for me
*

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – DiCamillo

This is a wonderful story about learning to love. I listened to it on audio CD, read by Judith Ivey–who did an outstanding job. The audio is only 2 hours–so I highly recommend it even to those who are time-challenged.
2006, 198 pp.

Rating: 4.5/5

Books Read Jan 07

1. Angle of Repose – Stegner – Rating: 4
2. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – Smith – Rating: 4.5
3. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan – See – Rating: 5
4. Atonement – McEwan – Rating: 3.5
5. Peace Like a River – Enger Rating: 4.5
6. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – DiCamillo – Rating: 4.5

Total pages read: 1922

Atonement – Ian McEwan

This was not an easy book to read. It is in three parts, of which I found the first to be the most difficult to get through. By difficult I mean slow, detailed, and plodding. There is very little dialogue throughout the book. Most of the writing consists of the characters’ inward thoughts and feelings.

It is a story about Briony, who at 13 years old accuses a family friend of a horrible crime. This occurs in Part 1, which takes up half the book. The aftermath of that accusation, along with the characters’ involvement in World War II make up Parts 2 and 3. I don’t like reading about war, but I actually liked this part of the book the most. That was a surprise to me. By the end, Briony is 77 and reflecting on her life events and how they have affected her family.

Overall, I didn’t enjoy this book very much, but I am glad I read it. I’ll probably read at least one more book by this author before passing a final judgment.
2002, 351 pp.
NBCC – 2002

Rating: 3.5/5

Also reviewed by:

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith

This is a light, fun, easy read about a lady detective in Africa. Read this for lighter fare after you’ve read more serious or depressing novels. It is a very funny book. I wouldn’t necessarily label it a “cozy”, though, because there were a few elements that would disqualify it. I definitely plan on reading more about Precious Ramotswe.
2002, 235 pp.

Rating: 4.5/5

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan – Lisa See

Wow!! This is an amazing book. It is a story about women in China and their relationships to their families, husbands, and each other. They must first obey their father, then their husband, and then even their son. Their feet are bound to become more “marriageable”–the smaller the foot, the better the marriage prospects. We’re talking about 7 cm here! The lives of these women were very harsh, and some were unbearable. Their hardships, work, pain, and desire for love came through very vividly in this novel.

I recommend this book be read by all women.

2005, 258 pp.
Rating: 5/5

Also reviewed by:

Angle of Repose – Wallace Stegner

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972. It is a story about family, marriage, and even American history. Susan Burling Ward, an artist from the East, goes West with her Western mining engineer husband to “begin a new civilization”. Their struggles with each other, with outsiders, and the land itself are chronicled by Lyman Ward, their grandson who is a retired history professor. As Lyman ends their story, he realizes certain parallel struggles in his own story and wonders how he will overcome them.

I enjoyed Stegner’s writing very much. I thought his portrayal of Susan was very convincing. I enjoyed his grandparents’ story a little more than his own just because there was some s*xual dialogue used that I don’t care for. These were few and far between though, and I do plan on reading more from this author.
1971, 569 pp.
Pulitzer – 1972

Rating: 4/5