Summer Reading 2014 (part 3)

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Let’s jump right in, shall we?

07. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

  • Karen Russell is a very talented author.  I so appreciate the way she writes, the vivid word that she created, and the characters that feel so real, yet strange.  This novel is really written in the voice of the main character, Ava.  Later, her brother’s voice plays a role in the novel as well.  Both voices are strong and do not distract from each other.
  • The adventure part of the story is a bit weak– the mystical journey through the swamp I was promised isn’t really the highlight here.  The end doesn’t feel as complete as I would’ve liked.
  • It’s an odd novel, but when all is said and done, it’s a unique piece of fiction.  I’m really looking forward to reading more of Russell’s work.

 

08. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

  • This true crime novel is the second piece of nonfiction to make it to my summer reading list!  Maybe it’s that I’m not used to reading true crime, but this seemed to take a lot of liberties with nonfiction.  It’s written like the author was there while all of this took place.  I was unclear on this the whole way through.
  • This book, pre-murder trial, does so much for Savannah.  I’m adding it to my list of American cities I want to visit immediately.
  • The cast of characters are so compelling.  In my previous summer reading post, I spoke about how I’ve been watching TV to accompany my books.  This time around, the best fit show would be RuPaul’s Drag Race because this book features a fabulous drag queen called Chablis.
  • When you actually do get around to the trial and the murder, which if you’re anything like me, you kind of forgot was coming, you find yourself with a renewed interest in everything.  The trial itself make me so nervous with this: the jury was sequestered for 2 weeks and the selected jurors freaked out about it.  I have jury duty tomorrow and this tidbit made me so, so paranoid.

 

09. The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna van Praag

  • The cover of this book promises its contents to be “sweet, magical and bookish” which are all things I look for in a book!
  • I’m not going to lie, for such a short book, this was difficult for me to get through.  The magical element came in right away, as did the literary element.  I don’t think the former ever panned out to my expectations.  Interesting things come into play much later in the novel, but trying to get to them is tough.
  • The characters were not compelling.  I came around to the main character, Alba, but not so much to the others.
  • I am glad I stuck it out, because this book is a love letter to great women– from Dorothy Parker to Sylvia Plath.  The best part was after the story was over, there was a guide to all these wonderful women who stayed at Hope St.

 

10.  People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

  • I just started this one!  I’m sure I’ll let you know.  As I said, I have jury duty tomorrow which should give me plenty of time to read… wish me luck, guys!

Keep on reading!

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