Compelling tale, nicely researched. Slightly more bedroom stuff than I am comfortable reading or recommending. Phonetic spellings of the womens' regio...moreCompelling tale, nicely researched. Slightly more bedroom stuff than I am comfortable reading or recommending. Phonetic spellings of the womens' regional accents was clunky to me, but others might find that helpful. For me, vividly describe an Irish woman and I will hear her accent in my head when she speaks. (less)
For quite awhile I'd been hearing buzz about Markus Zusak's The Book Thief and how amazingly good it was, and that I should move it to the top of my T...moreFor quite awhile I'd been hearing buzz about Markus Zusak's The Book Thief and how amazingly good it was, and that I should move it to the top of my TBR pillar-to-the-sky. Since I've been reading a lot these days about World War 2 for the novel I'm writing, I figured I had two reasons to move it up the pillar, one being the acclaim I kept hearing, and the second being I could classify it as research.
I hadn't read the back cover copy or any reviews. I didn't know who would be telling the story nor even who the stealer of books was, so I was unprepared for the first few pages. Lost, even. I hesitate to even tell you why I was lost lest I tell you too much and you miss out on the extraordinary experience of learning for yourself who the narrator is. In fact, if you haven't yet read any reviews of the book, DON'T. Stop with this one. I will barely tell you anything other than you will be moved to your core.
And because its beautifully crafted theatrical trailer will not spoil anything for you, do enjoy. The movie comes out in November, but do read the book first. Put it at the top of your pillar, readers. I think you will be glad you did. http://youtu.be/68mu8IP6sSc (less)
Just re-read A Wrinkle in Time for a high school where I volunteer as a writing workshop facilitator. I think the last time I read it was 1970 and I w...moreJust re-read A Wrinkle in Time for a high school where I volunteer as a writing workshop facilitator. I think the last time I read it was 1970 and I was in fifth grade. Such a great book, for any age to read. Loved the bit about our lives being like sonnets. There is a certain form a sonnet must adhere to be in order to be a sonnet, but the poet gets decide what words to use. You are writing your own sonnet. Make it beautiful! If it's been since grade school that you've read AWIT, give it another read. It's amazing how timeless the truths inside are.(less)
I love dual time period tales. There's a lot to like about this novel and the two story threads that end up merging together. A very nice and surprisi...moreI love dual time period tales. There's a lot to like about this novel and the two story threads that end up merging together. A very nice and surprising twist was waiting at the end and which I didn't see coming. (less)
ometimes I'll buy a book that has garnered wildly positive acclaim and I'll open the first page expecting to be blown away by sheer brilliance. I open...moreometimes I'll buy a book that has garnered wildly positive acclaim and I'll open the first page expecting to be blown away by sheer brilliance. I opened Moloka'i by Alan Brennert thinking this because the reviews had been so glowing and it was chosen as San Diego's One Book, One San Diego for 2012. And it was brilliant, no doubt about it, but not for the usual reasons. The brilliance is in the steady understatement and utter subtlety. The first chapter drew me in, but not as a hostage, as many bestsellers will do. The drawing in was skillfully gradual, from chapter to chapter, until I was hooked into the very life of a young leper girl named Rachel. I didn't realize I was chained until I heard a rattling when I reached up to flick a tear away. That's how good it was.
If you know anything about the island of Molokai you know it was the turn-of-the-century Hawaiian colony for those diagnosed with the nightmare disease known as leprosy. In this story, Rachel is just a child when a sore that won't heal rips her away from her family and deposits her on an island of exiles few ever leave. Her story isn't a tale about disease, but rather the resiliency of the human spirit. And it is a compelling tale, to say the least. I was reminded in the reading of other books that have met me in a deeply emotional place while instructing me on historical events I knew precious little about, such as Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, The Kite Runner, and Sarah's Key. Books like these haunt you, a meaningful way, after you are done with them because of what they have taught you. Gems like these appear in the pages of Moloka'i:
“God didn’t give man wings; He gave him the brain and the spirit to give himself wings. Just as He gave us the capacity to laugh when we hurt, or to struggle on when we feel like giving up. I’ve come to believe that how we choose to live with pain, or injustice, or death…is the true measure of the Divine within us. Some … choose to do harm to themselves and others. Others … bear up under their pain and help others to bear it.”
And this one:
“Fear is good. In the right degree it prevents us from making fools of ourselves. But in the wrong measure it prevents us from fully living. Fear is our boon companion but never our master.”
Novel-reading is my escape from novel-writing but I often can't help but begin to ease back into writer mode when I am reading one. Not so with this one. I was a passenger the entire time.