I have been bad, I confess, in writing up my reviews at the time that I've read the books in the last month. So here comes a whole bunch...shorter than I would have liked but giving my 2 cents worth nevertheless!
Title: The Road
Author: Cormac McCarthy
Rating: Unexpected enjoyment
Genre: Award-winning, Pulitzer
Number of pages: 287
Challenges: A to Z Title (R); Notable Books; Pulitzer Project; TBR 2008; 101 Books in 1,001 Days
I have to confess that I almost put this book down and went on to the next book in my TBR stack. It reminded me of The Brief History of the Dead, which I found one of the best reads last year. But then I started to notice little touches in the writing and execution of the story like the way that the sparse prose was laid out on the page, and the overwhelming feeling that everything in this new world is black, white, and grey. Here's a brief rundown of the story line...a father and son are on a journey down a road after the world, as we know it, has been destroyed but for a very small number of people. Details of the who, what, where, and when are few and far between and this fact makes the story even more stark. In the end, I found this a great read but in a different way than Brief History...the two books would make quite an interesting comp lit discussion.
Title: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Rating: Thoroughly enjoyed
Genre: Literary fiction
Number of pages: 384
Challenges:A to Z Authors (H); Book Around the World; TBR 2008; 101 Books in 1,001 Days
After devouring the story, characters, and prose of The Kite Runner, I was a bit hesitant to read Hosseini's second novel. Friends told me not to worry that A Thousand Splendid Suns was the equal of Kite Runner and in some ways better, and I have to agree. This novel delves into the plight of women in the Middle East during the time of the Afghanistan War and beyond. The author makes you angry, sad and happy in the course of a few pages if not sentences. Where Kite Runner revolves around two boys growing into men, A Thousand Splendid Suns takes you on a feminine journey. Hate to say it twice but these 2 books would also be wonderful for a comp lit discussion.
Title: A Sliver of Truth
Author: Lisa Unger
Genre: Thriller, suspense
Number of pages: 368
Challenges: A to Z Authors (U); TBR 2008; 101 Books in 1,001 Days
This book is the sequel to Lisa Unger's Beautiful Lies and I believe that to maximize the enjoyment of the storyline you need to read the books back to back (without a span of several months in between). Sliver picks up where Lies left off and the heroine, Ridley Smith is beset with a whole new set of dilemmas, intrigue, and drama. The story is fast-paced and I really enjoy the author's quirky technique of addressing the reader directly in conversation as she discovers information or reflects on the past or expresses comments that foreshadow the future. Quick and enjoyable for lovers of mystery and thrill.
Title: The Night Watch
Author: Sarah Waters
Genre: Period piece
Number of pages: 544
Challenges: Chunkster; A to Z Authors (W); Themed Challenge; 101 Books in 1,001 Days
Our reading group chose this book as one of our selections for 2008 based on (from what everyone could remember) the fact that the author has won numerous awards for her writing in England. So with that said, my expectation was high. The novel starts out in post-World War II England and with each section goes back in time. So in essence you know how the story ends at the beginning but it is the discovering of how the characters arrived there that makes for an interesting book. Other than this technique...I did not care for the book...I had no interest in the characters at all except for maybe Kay who was the most redeemable and interesting...a masculine lesbian who was a paramedic during the war. If this book wasn't to be read for reading group, I would have not finished it.
Title: The Bluest Eye
Author: Toni Morrison
Genre: Literary fiction
Number of pages: 224
Challenges:My Year of Reading Dangerously; A to Z Authors (M); 101 Books in 1,001 Days
This is award-winning writer Toni Morrison's first novel and my edition had an interesting afterward by her dated 30 years after she first wrote the book. It was a thought-provoking reflection on how she viewed what she tried to accomplish then and relative to now. The story is told, for the most part, from the point of view of a pre-teen girl and cleverly divided into seasons. I originally read the book when it was one of Oprah's selections about 8 or 9 years ago so I always find it interesting to re-read a book at a different stage in life. However, both times I felt anger that the adults allowed Pecola Breedlove to endure what she did in her life. She was made to feel 'ugly' inside and out and the only way that she thought that she could get her life back in order was the simple wish for the unnatural blue eyes. And now I have to head over to My Year of Reading Dangerously to comment on some of the posted questions.
And I am currently reading an advance reader copy of a book called The Sister by Poppy Adams that I received via the B&N's First Look group and utterly enjoying the storytelling of the author (first novel but she has been a BBC documentary writer/producer until now).