Spring has sprung! Dozens of white and purple crocus dot the little garden by our front door. This is their first year and I hope each year they'll grow in number and strength.
Today is Ten on Tuesday day and it's a subject near and dear to my heart...BOOKS!
The wonderful thing about reading is being taken to exotic places, different times, different cultures, lands and worlds you would never experience first hand. Each page opens up an understanding of what it would be like to be someone else and to live in another place than where you are now. Some authors do a better job of imparting their vision of time, place, and the human condition, but the last 10 books I've read, the authors have been very good at sharing their vision, their version, of a story.
Carole asked for our ToT topic to share the last 10 books we read and to give a review, if we like.
1. Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy, #1) by Chinua Achebe - If you haven't read this book I would highly recommend you do. The story will do everything I mentioned above; take you to another land and a different time, as Achebe writes of the indomitable spirit of man and shares the story of a lost culture. This was an excellent choice for our book group (last night), as there was much to discuss.
2. The Broken Shore by Peter Temple - Every once in awhile I like to read a mystery novel and down-and-out detectives are de rigueur. This book takes place in Australia, which was a plus, as I listened to the audio and enjoyedthe accent of the narrator. As with many stories of this genre, it was dark and disturbing, not a mystery for everyone.
3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie- This would make a great audio book as Alexie narrates his story, but I was able to get the e-book from my library so I read it instead. The good thing about a print copy is the drawings Alexie inserts will give a better picture of his thoughts and his emotions. This book will make you laugh, make you angry, and make you cry. I loved every word.
4.The Man in the Window by Jon Cohen - This book was an easy read and a book worth reading. The story of the man in the window slowly unfolds, but the ending took me by surprise. I liked it, but it's not the type of book I usually pick up. It was an NPR recommendation, which I find are hit and miss.
5. The Color Master: Stories by Aimee Bender - I listened to this short story collection and enjoyed the use of different narrators, one for each story. The stories were diverse in subject and some were better than others (as with most collections). My favorite story in the book was The Color Master and my guess is it would be your favorite, too.
6. The Answer to the Riddle Is Me: A Memoir of Amnesia by David Stuart MacLean - While spending a year in India, David had a reaction to the drug he was taking for malaria. His story was very disturbing, fascinating and irritating. Imagine the perspective of what it would be like to know nothing about yourself. Nothing. Think about that. It's hard to imagine, but his story was well told.
7. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - This was one of my favorite books of of the ten. Adichie took me into a world I know little to nothing about and she wrote the story well. I gained some understanding of what it would be like for a Nigerian (or any other immigrant) to live in America. The stories imagined from afar never quite match up to the reality and finding ones place in a new culture is a challenge. Adichie was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award last week.
In actuality, finding ones place is a recurring theme in many of the 10 books on this list.
8. The Hare With Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss by Edmund de Waal - This book was my least favorite of the 10. If I'd picked it up on my own, instead of as a book group choice, it is unlikely I would have finished it. The story tells of the rise and fall of de Waal's family in Vienna from before the turn of the 19th century, through WWII and beyond. For that reason it was worth reading and we had a good discussion about the book, the family, and the discrimination they endured.
9. The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan - This was a 5 star book and I'm not the only one to think so as it was long-listed for the Man Booker. I'll admit to having a soft spot for Irish novels. Each chapter of the book is narrated by an different character, all living in a small town, that has been adversely affected by the collapse of the Irish economy. The stories are poignant, sometimes funny, but beautifully full of Irish idioms. The stories center around the violence that affects the town in the wake of the collapse and the demise of the local building firm. I listened to this book, but it's only 150 pages, which would make it a quick read.
10. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt - I was iffy about reading this book due, in part, to the incredible amount of hype it received before being published. I took a chance as the reviews were all over the place...some loved it, others were unimpressed. I decided to make up my own mind. I'm glad I did. While I can see being bogged down around the middle of the book (I wasn't), the last half swept me up and took me along for an incredible ride. Theo is a grieving child and grieving children heal slowly (if at all). His friend Boris is also a child of loss, and their losses play big roles in the paths they take. The best characters are Hobie and Boris, but many of the minor characters are strong and play important roles, including the painting of The Goldfinch. A small group of us are getting together in a couple of weeks to discuss the book, which will make for another interesting discussion.
Please, tell me the last book you read and if you liked it.