"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

Thursday, October 23, 2014


AUTHOR: Emma Donoghue

Room is a remarkable book. Told in the voice of 5-year-old Jack, it's the story of survival, endurance, and hope under the worst of conditions. Jack's mother was kidnapped when she was 19 and imprisoned in Room where she was repeatedly raped by her captor and bore his child. She's done everything she could to give him a good life and for his first five years, Jack's entire universe is Room, his only experience of the outside world coming from an old TV where, he's been told, everything is pretend. But Jack is growing and asking questions and Room is getting too small for him. If he's to have a future, they need to escape.

Donaghue's prose is simple and direct, presenting everything from Jack's chidish perspective. The story, and the suspense, is minimal, but the words resonate and have stuck with me. I wanted to know more. I want to know what comes next. It's been a while since I read a book so simple, yet so emotionally powerful.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Life After Life

TITLE: Life After Life
AUTHOR: Kate Atkinson

Ursula has the ability to relive her life over and over, haunted by feelings of deja vu and even precognition. Every time she dies, she's born again. Sometimes, her deaths are the work of fate. Other times, she can avoid them by making different choices. But this odd ability of Ursula's is not all that interests Atkinson so much as what Ursula experiences in her many lives. Born in 1910, when she manages to live past her teens, she experiences World War II, sometimes from the center of the Blitz and sometimes in Germany. She loses loved ones over and over. And given the chance to kill Hitler, does she? But in a life that reboots every time she dies, does it matter what she does? Is it real? Is any of it real? How much can we affect our own reality? Is Ursula really reliving her life over and over, or is she, in each reality, tapping into the Ursulas of infinite realities? If you had the ability to change your life, would you? And what would be the repercussions? So many questions are posed by this extraordinary novel that offers no real answers. And for a life that reboots with birth after every death, is there ever really an end? Atkinson is one of my favorite writers, and in this, she's surpassed herself.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Book Sculptures

Call me conflicted. While I find myself a bit put off by anyone doing anything with a book other than read it, I do love seeing the cool things people do with books. These sculptures are amazing.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dead of Winter

TITLE: The Dead of Winter
AUTHOR: Rennie Airth

This is the third John Madden historical mystery, set in England near the end of World War II. The first two books established a pattern that this book also follows. A murder victim is discovered and as the investigation goes on, the author shows other characters who will play into the resolution even if there's no obvious reason how or why. In the first book, we saw the killer's pov; in the next two, the killer's identity becomes known early on. This isn't a traditional mystery as much as a look at crime detection at the time, how the local police and Scotland Yard handled unusual criminals whose motives aren't clear. And as with the other books, it's the characters that make the story worth reading. I enjoyed it a lot, but not as much as the first two because of that pattern. Things fell into place as I was expecting and therefore, there weren't any surprises or real suspense this time, despite how well the book is written. And there is a wonderful woman cop who gets a chance to help out the detective squad at the Yard, and I'd love to see a book featuring her.

Literary Shoes

I love these shoes, even if they're not the sort I can wear. Though at least some look like flats. hmmmm.....