August 28, 2012

This is most definitely an adult book!

Word to the wise, if you're looking for a book to read aloud to the kids at night then Water for Elephants is NOT the book for you.  However, if you're looking for a book that will take you into the world of circuses when they were in their heyday then this IS the book for you.  Oh and there's romance (with racy bits which is partly why it's not suitable for the youngsters).  And drama (a trainload of it).  This book was highly recommended to me by two of my classmates from my YA Lit class and I must say they did not lead me astray.  Well-written, engaging, and just plain fun to read, Sara Gruen had me on the edge of my seat the whole way.  I've always been fascinated by the culture of circuses and this has just fueled that fire even more.

Of course, now that I've finished this book I remembered that I was 3/4 of the way through A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking and I owe it to science to finish it up.  Sooooo that's what I'm going to do while I wait on my library hold for Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford (now that is a fun name).  I'll let you guys know the verdict just as soon as I can!!

August 18, 2012

I have a confession.  Sometimes I watch the movie before I read the book.  I know!  That's crazy talk!!  However, in my defense, I don't always realize that there was a book before the movie.  This is one of those times.  In celebration of finishing my Young Adult Literature class, I read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le CarrĂ©. Of course, since I had watched the film I knew the bare bones of the narrative and because of this there should be no surprises.  Right?  WRONG!  This book was so compellingly written, so sprinkled with intrigue and suspicion, that it was impossible not to think of the two stories as separate (but both magnificent).  The story revolves around the British Secret Service and those at the very top of the ladder.  There is a double agent among them.  The entire story is the search for this elusive mole.  If you love mystery and spy stories, this is just the book for you.  I can't wait to get my hands on more of his works!

Sometimes when you walk the aisles of a library or bookstore, a book will jump out at you.  It might be a book that you had heard mentioned and forgot about it or it might be one you had never heard of at all. This next book falls into the former category.  Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen was a much talked about book (and movie which I haven't seen by the way) last year even though it came out in 2006.  I was reminded of it by some of my classmates when we were discussing Twilight (Robert Pattinson strikes again) and they were very enthusiastic about it.  Then I just so happened to have it in my hands when I was shelving a few days later.  I had to check it out.  From what I can tell from the back cover and from what my classmates describe the book is a gripping romantic fiction that is set in a circus that is on its last legs  Romance isn't my favorite genre but I have a fascination with circuses (remember when I read The Night Circus?).  There's something compelling about people who travel around the world performing for different audiences each night and all with masks and makeup to conceal their true identities.  I can't wait to see what mysteries await me within the pages of this book!

August 4, 2012

I've just finished up Mud City by Deborah Ellis which is the third installment of the Breadwinner Trilogy.  It's about a young Afghan girl name Shauzia who is at a refugee camp but would rather be in France (or really anywhere else).  The story focuses on her struggles as she encounters the many obstacles of a country torn apart by war.  She's angry, frustrated, and at odds with everyone around her except for her dog, Jasper.  It was a fairly quick read and while I learned about a country that I'm pretty unfamiliar with, I wasn't blown away by it.  Perhaps if I hadn't unwittingly chosen the third book in a trilogy, it would have been more entertaining.  However, if you're interested in knowing what it would be like to grow up in Afghanistan or Pakistan, I suggest starting with The Breadwinner.

Interesting to note: the royalties from the purchase of this book go to Street Kids International, a non-profit organization that works with children around the world who are living on the streets.  For more information, contact them here or write to them at 38 Camden St, Suite 201, Toronto, Ontario M5V 1V1.