Sunday, July 06, 2008

Summer Reading

While The Man was on Vacation this last week, I have been doing tons of reading. Every day he looks at the cover of a new book and asks if I feel I have to read ALL of the books I see. Of course I had to answer YES!

"House of Meetings" by Martin Amis was a bleak look at life in the old Russia, told from the perspective of a man in a prison camp in the 1950's. In a book written for his step daughter, he tells the story of how he survived, along with his brother, their love for the same woman, and the tragic results of that love. Though stark and cold, the book was a compelling look at the attitudes and sadness that haunt the people of Russia, even today. I liked the richness of the words and the way Amis handled a sad, sad, story of life in the harshest place I can imagine.

"No Second Chance" by Harlan Coben was a completely different kind of story. When a plastic surgeon is shot in his home, his wife murdered and his baby missing, he struggles to find the answers as to why and to find his baby. I was compelled to keep reading through the night. Not the boob job kind of surgeon, he traveled the world repairing the faces and bodies of the underprivileged. He can think of no one who would want him dead. When a ransom drop goes horribly wrong, and the FBI have put the case on the back burner, he relentlessly continues, always searching for his daughter. Nothing is as it seems in the end, as he races to discover the truth. A edge of the seat, can't put down good read!

"My Sisters Keeper" by Jodi Picoult was one of the most startling, saddest books I have read in a long time. I cried so hard, it gave me a headache, and yet I couldn't stop reading it. I made me ask myself a lot of questions, such as, do we have the right to engineer a perfect match in a child, as a donor for a dying child? Just because we have the science, do we have the right to use it? Anna was conceived to be a match for her sister Kate, who is dying of leukemia. Her cord blood can give Kate a second chance at life and her desperate parents will try anything to save her. When the cord blood works for a while, everything is normal, but as time goes on and Kate continues to relapse, more blood cells, bone marrow and finally a kidney are asked of Anna. At 13, she has had enough and hires an attorney to sue for the right to her own body. The family shatters as the case comes to trial, and the surprising, tragic end, is the true test of an excellent story teller. While I can understand the hope they felt, when is enough enough? Compelling does not begin to describe this book. I think that down the road, I will reread it, when I feel the need for a shower for my soul.


  1. I've started My Sister's Keeper but am so worried about the crying. So far I really like it, but I'm reading it slowly so I don't get overwhelmed.

  2. I didn't know about the Martin Amis book...thanks for the review!

  3. I've got My Sister's Keeper, but I sometimes wonder if I'll ever get to it. I've never been thrilled with Jodi Picoult.

  4. I have really looked at that Amis book, many many times... it has always appealed to me, I just have not quite bought it yet. Reading the jacket cover of the book, and a few reviews, have always made me feel that the book is like reading a new Solzhenitsyn novel!
    I am currently reading one of the most exhilarating novels I have ever read!
    It is the new one by Andre Dubus III, called The Garden of Last Days. I am nearly finished it, and I already think it will be my favorite novel of 2008.