Another book for my book club. Not my cup of tea, however. I didn't like Ka as a main character and find it hard to enjoy a novel when I despise the pAnother book for my book club. Not my cup of tea, however. I didn't like Ka as a main character and find it hard to enjoy a novel when I despise the protagonist. I also feel that a lot of people have been getting into this book because it's the "vogue" thing to do -- it deals a lot with Islam and religious war, etc. I haven't read any other of Pamuk's work and this, unfortunately, has turned me off to reading anything else by him....more
I'm almost ashamed to admit that I read this, but I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. The book is very poorly written and the storyline, whilI'm almost ashamed to admit that I read this, but I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. The book is very poorly written and the storyline, while there was a very small glimmer of potential, did not satisfy my tastes. I understand that many vampire novels deal with sexuality, but Meyers' story was over-sexualized to the point of creepiness. I can't stand Bella, who is a self-insert Mary-Sue (really? SMeyer wants to be her); we all have confidence issues, especially at her age, but her constant whining went over the line into the realm of annoying and obnoxious. It's difficult for me to enjoy a book if I despise the main character, the supposed protagonist, and I despised Bella. The rest of the cast was no different. Did you know vampires sparkle? Maybe he's born with it... maybe it's Maybelline....more
This past semester I took a course on the Holocaust, a topic out of my area of study (early America) but one I've always been interested in. In the laThis past semester I took a course on the Holocaust, a topic out of my area of study (early America) but one I've always been interested in. In the last few classes, we focused on the issue of justice after 1945. Questions about law, morality, perpetrators, bystanders, and victims hung heavy on our minds. There was no question that there needed to be consequences for the actions of the Nazis and their collaborators, but there was also no easy answer. What did it mean to be a collaborator, anyway? To actively participate in the murder of six million Jews? Or was doing nothing collaboration? Was a bystander also a collaborator? How should the courts be organized? The defending attorneys claimed that the courts were using ex post facto law; was this ok? We toiled with it for days, and finally on the final exam essays as well.
"The Reader" addresses these questions but does so through the eyes of Michael Berg, a German man who struggles not only with his parents' potential knowledge of and role in the Holocaust, but also with his love for Hanna Schmitz, with whom he had an affair as a teenager and now stands trial for her role as a Nazi guard at Auschwitz and another of its satellite camps. Michael, who attends every day of her trial, soon discovers that she is illiterate after it is revealed that she would have prisoners read to her -- something he himself did during their affair. When Hanna is given a life sentence, Michael records himself reading and sends the cassettes to her for ten years. After 18 years in prison, she is granted clemency and Michael is responsible for setting her up with an apartment and a job. But Hanna, who has learned to read and write during her time in prison, hangs herself the day she is to be released.
Schlink has an interesting style, but sometimes I was lost in the questions of philosophy, morality, and law. Perhaps it was because he presented several of them at once, but I think that also speaks to the fact that we should be uncomfortable, and this is not an easy or simple topic to ponder. I liked the book, and I give it four stars because these questions have been on my mind for a while. You want to like Hanna, but at the same time you think you should hate her because of what she did. You want to feel bad for her, but you feel guilty for doing so. Schlink deserves the recognition this novel has gotten, and I'm interested to see the film adaptation....more