Sunday, September 28, 2008

Review: The Eaves of Heaven by Andrew X. Pham

Ok, of all the books I've read this year, this is the one you just HAVE to read. I can't believe I'm gushing so much about a non-fiction book, which is normally not my forte. But this book is absolutely wonderful.

This is a true story, a memoir that Andrew Pham wrote from stories his father told him of his early life in Vietnam. You've seen all the Vietnam movies, you have your American idea of what "Vietnam" is, right? Well, now you can read about 'Vietnam' from the perspective of someone who grew up there, from someone who doesn't necessarily think with a French or American brain.

Pham's father was one of the rich gentry class in Vietnam. And then the French came. And then the Americans came...wars, wars, wars. And the things they lived through. You just can't imagine it. This is the book that will change what you think of Vietnam from "hellhole" to something vastly different.

My only complaint is that the chapters alternate between his youth in the North and the later years in the South -- this would not have been a problem had I been reading the book and could have easily flipped back to see where we had left off before....but I read it on the Kindle, where it's harder to do that. If you're reading the paper version, it shouldn't be a problem.

I loved, loved, loved this book. We'll see what happens, but it'll definitely be in the running for my favorite book of the year.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Review: What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman

I've never read anything else by Laura Lippman, and I've had this one on my list for quite some time. So long, in fact, that I had no idea what it was about when I picked it up. Turns out to be a great and fascinating mystery that I could not put down. I'll definitely look up her other books.

So I would say this falls somewhere between "high" literary fiction and mainstream mysteries. It is well written and thought out, but with a definite suspenseful quality. Two girls disappear after going to the mall in 1975, and in the present day, a woman claims to be one of them after getting in a car accident. This all happens in the first chapter and the rest of the book is the unraveling of what really happened.

It's not going to change your world forever, and might not be your favorite of the year....but it's a great, quick read with a lot of depth and I'd highly recommend it!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Review: These Is My Words by Nancy Turner

When I got my new Kindle, my best friend reached over and downloaded this book onto it. I'm thinking - in panic - I have 125 books before this one on my "To be Read" list!! But she kept asking if I'd read it, and so eventually I cracked it open, virtually.

A prairie book. Cowboys and Indians and such. Now my friend (the one who downloaded it) Emily is the only person I know who could actually live on the prairie. But seriously, who would want to?? I mean, this is a time period when everyone dies. Your kid gets the measles? Dead. So I was a bit irritated to be reading this book with so much tragedy. Just not my thing.

BUT. This is just a fantastic book. So well done. I love, love, love the narrator, the writer of the journal. And I grew up in Arizona, so there were so many places I recognized. This is a great love story, without being cheesy or gratuitous like so many of today's romances. I can't imagine any book lover hating this book. It's been over a week since I've been finished with it, I'm well into another book, and yet anytime I'm daydreaming, it's still all about this book. This one's gonna stay with me for a long, long time.