Jen Robinson used to do a series of "reviews that made me want to read the book."
I have a slew of starred posts in my Google Reader of reviews that made ME want to read the book. So, I thought I'd steal Jen's idea and share some of the reviews that make my TBR pile so insane. This is probably become an occasional series:
Grinnell College Libraries Favorite Books and Book Review's review of The Long Way Home: An American Journey from Ellis Island to the Great War by David Laskin
It is interesting to read this book about 12 men who immigrated during the great 19th century wave of immigration in light of current debates on immigration and especially recent legislation in Arizona. Laskin's book is about the interesting path these men took to the United States, looking for opportunity, perhaps even seeking to avoid mandatory service in their native countries' armed forces, only to be drafted into the U.S. forces.
Abby (the) Librarian's review of Matched by Ally Condie.
Cruely, she taunts us with a book that doesn't come out until NOVEMBER.
I think Ms. Condie has created an intriguing world and she builds the tension up nicely to keep the reader interested. I started this book before I went to bed last night and ended up staying awake for an extra hour because I wanted to see what happened next. There are some nice plot turns, some I suspected and some that surprised me. This will definitely please fans of dystopian lit and it has a nice element of romance, so I'd recommend it to fans of paranormal romance, too.
Chasing Ray's review of The Last Samurai by Helen Dewitt
Colleen hadn't even finished it yet, but...
First, I need someone to explain why you all haven't heard of this book. The easy answer is that it is too offbeat, too unusual, basically just too damn different. And yet in a world that supports Scarlett Thomas and Samantha Hunt I do not understand why Helen Dewitt is not equally embraced by a cult-like following. The Last Samurai is not a page-turning thriller but it is so bloody smart and witty that I can not understand for the life of me why it isn't the book that all the 21st century witty smart readers who like learning and think being curious is truly a cool thing bought the heck out of and made it a continuous, on a scale of David Foster Wallace type massive best seller.
Color Online's review of Moonshine: A Novel by Alaya Johnson
The notion of Moonshine being merely another vampire or paranormal fiction novel is taking it a bit too lightly. Though a quirky and supernatural tale, it's also a guise for a more grounded critique on race. Zephyr struggles daily to get humans to see that the "Others", who openly live, work, and play in mainstream society, are still deserving of humanity even if not human.
Editorial Anonymous had an interview with Adam Rex rather than a review of his upcoming Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story
I have to say the impetus for this book actually came when I misread a banner ad. I was in the middle of my morning web-crawl when I saw an ad for some manga or webcomic or something called My Dork Embrace. And I thought, That's great. I bet it's a story about the kind of awkward guy who's never supposed to become a vampire. And a minute later my brain wouldn't let go of it because the art and tenor of the ad didn't really jive with the assumption I'd made, so I scrolled back to have another look at it. And I discovered it's really just My Dark Embrace. I'd misread it. But then I got excited because that meant I could write My Dork Embrace myself, and it would be a good framework to work out some thoughts I'd been having about high school.
Another one from Chasing Ray. This time it's Touch by Adania Shibli
In many ways it is exactly like a thousand other YA stories and yet the telling is so different that it reads like nothing else. It's poetry in prose; an exotic fragmented tale of often mundane circumstances.
Reading Extensively's review of My Invisible Boyfriend by Susie Day
Heidi is a quirky character with a great sense of humor. She loves to watch DVD episodes of her favorite spy show and has imaginary conversations with the main character, Mycroft Christie...The title suggests that the book is a romance but really the focus is on friendship which I found refreshing. Heidi and her friends are one of a kind.
Emily Read's review of Only One Year by Andrea Cheng
Emily reviews in haiku and I don't want to copy her ENTIRE post here, because that hardly seems sporting, but here's part of the description of the book:
Just before Sharon's mother begins a new job, the fourth-grader's parents send her two-year-old brother, Di Di, to live in Shanghai for a year with their grandmother, Nai Nai. When Sharon questions why a babysitter can't care for him instead, Mama explains that for a sitter, 'Di Di is a job. But for Nai Nai, he is a grandson.'
Maggie Reads has an excerpt from I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali and Delphine Minoui
I walk through an open door and am faced with a group of wailing women and men wearing black robes. This is the place I want to be. It is up to me and only me to find one of those black robed men alone and get what I seek...
The room is empty now and I sit afraid I will be missed as it becomes dark. The lady at the desk goes into the office and speaks to the judge. Suddenly, he is standing in front of me. “What do you want little girl?” I bravely state, “I want a divorce.”
Nymeth from Things Mean a Lot's review of Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
Maisie Dobbs isn’t only a mystery: it’s also a story about an Edwardian young woman growing up, moving from poverty to a world of comfort and education, and having her life irrevocably changed by the war...
There was quite a bit that I liked about Maisie Dobbs: the glimpses into the pre-World War I Edwardian world and into post-war society; the descriptions of the war period and of civilian life during it; the emphasis on how the war was experienced by people of different genders and different social backgrounds; the commentary on class; and most of all the sensitive analysis of the long-term consequences of an experience as devastating as WWI, both at an individual and at a social level.
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