Friday, August 29, 2008

Review: The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

This book has been on my list for a really long time. I even checked it out once and then couldn't get to it. Finally, I downloaded it onto my new Amazon Kindle and read it. It's a really long book, set in London around the time frame of World War 2, and the blitz on London. One thing that was praised about the book was the style of working backwards. It was definitely interesting, but it wasn't my favorite writing style. Basically, you get to read from the end of the story backwards.

Secondly, I knew that there was a lesbian character in the book. But that's not how I would characterize the book. I would say the book is more about being lesbian than it is about World War 2. I'm not making moral judgments at all, but I'm not a big fan of sex scenes even in heterosexual fiction. This book was a bit more than I really wanted to know about the subject. I don't know; maybe that makes me ignorant or whatever. But I think rather than being mainstream fiction, this really falls under a much narrower category of gay and lesbian fiction. Just my opinion - I've read a lot of positive reviews on the book, so I may be the one who is in the minority.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Review: On Call in Hell by Richard Jadick

Oh, man. Don't even think about reading this book unless you want to cry. This guy was a Navy doctor serving front line Marines in the battle of Fallujah. He personally knew almost every traumatically wounded guy who came into his tent, and I don't even know how you deal with something like that. Whether you think this war is important or whether you think it's a waste, I believe there's not an American out there that doesn't respect our fighting men and women. This is an important book and you should read it. Go to Costco and get the jumbo case of Kleenex first, though.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Review: Forgive Me by Amanda Eyre Ward

I loved, loved, loved Amanda Eyre Ward's other books, How To Be Lost and Sleep Toward Heaven. When I saw she had a new book out, I put it on my 'to be read' list immediately.

This book has her trademark great writing, easy readability, and somewhat dark subject matter. There's nothing to not like in her style of writing. This particular book was about apartheid in South Africa, a subject that is pretty confusing to me in many ways. Heavy material, too - reading about the injustices and deaths of people in that part of the world, and trying to figure out how I could have been playing on the beach in California innocently while it was all going on; wondering what is going on now while I sit in my easy chair and read. It's that kind of book - one that will inspire deep and somewhat disturbing thoughts about life and the world at large.

But the writing in this book in particular confused me greatly. I was confused while reading it, turned back to see if I'd missed something, read it again, looked back again. After I finished the book, I couldn't sleep trying to figure out what I'd missed. Finally, in the middle of the night, I woke up realizing what had happened in the book. It seems to me kind of a sleight of hand, author-style. I'm pretty sure she intentionally tried to "trick" the reader here. I'm sorry I can't say more, because it would be a major spoiler, but I was not happy about the way it turned out. It made me want to read the book all over again, this time with the knowledge I now possess. I don't have time for that, and don't really appreciate reading a book only to feel like I should read it again to get the whole experience.

If you want to read this book, go ahead. Write me when you're done though, so I can see if I'm just stupid, or if it's really as confusing as I thought it was.