Category Archives: Books I enjoy!

Saturday’s Book – LISTENING to “Roughing It” by Mark Twain

Besides all the various material I’m reading, you can now find me “armed” with  an MP3 player (never had one before), moving around the house and listening to Mark Twain!

Did you know it can be legally downloaded for free from Libravox?

Although I was more interested in Mark Twan’s book “The Innocents Abroad” as it was about Europe and the Middle East, his delightful language and descriptions are such a pleasure to listen to that even silver mines become interesting!

Now I can get more reading done this summer, by reading and listening!

Saturday’s Book: We Need to Talk about Kevin – Part Two

I’m very conflicted about this book.

Lionel Shriver’s writing is brilliant. She (Yes, Lionel is a woman’s name! I was surprised!) draws the reader in and captivates with truly impressive prose.

Obviously she’s trying to shock and provoke the reader. Somewhat like a well written version of a Michael Moore film. There are certainly points to think about regarding society, media, parenting and more.

On the other hand, I felt that the author undermines her own message by depicting SUCH a dysfunctional family. It’s hard to buy the message that it isn’t just the parent’s fault with these parents, particulary the father and the relationship between the parents. I kept screaming at them ( in my head) throughout the whole book, from the beginning almost: “why aren’t you all in therapy?!!

Also, the ending -sigh. I watch a lot of foreign films (foreign, as in not Hollywood) and well, without spoiling it for anybody, that was an American ending. A movie which I actually hated (gave me nightmares!), but deals with comparable topics and has an ending which is more believable is Funny Games by Michael Haneke (the original version, don’t know anything about the American Remake).  Though I’m not actually recommending you watch the movie… there are others that are more palatable. Just here the topic is similar.

I’m also somewhat concerned – many of the people who recommended this book to me aren’t parents yet. I do hope this book hasn’t scared them!

My next book will be something more cheerful!

Saturday’s Book: “We Need to Talk about Kevin” by Lionel Shriver

The recommendations to read this book were very strong and kind of “creepy”:

* A “must” read – it will rock your world.

* Steel yourself but hang in there until the powerful conclusion.

* Don’t plan to be doing much else while you read it as you won’t be able to stop

To top it off the librarian said (when I checked out the book)

“I couldn’t read anything else for a week after that,  I was so shaken”.

A bit scary!

I’ve just read chapter one so far and am hooked (though still not enough to have trouble stopping, yet). Will save commnets for next Saturday’s post – too early to talk about it!

Saturday’s Book: Riding the Iron Rooster by Paul Theroux

Photo by Gil Epshtein

Our local library has something special – a reader’s “gift” corner.

Any person looking for a “new home” for some of his /her books can place them in this corner, near the entrance. Sometimes the library itself adds books that they have multiple copies of but don’t seem to be leaving the shelf.

People place a wide variety of things there, ranging from old encyclopedia volumes, trashy novels, auto magazines and old textbooks. The books are in different languages.

Sometimes I find a real treasure there, like this book!

I’m enjoying it immensely! Paul Theroux travelled, in 1986 from London to China by train, and then extensively in China.  His descriptions are so vivid and he writes so nicely! He spent a lot of time talking to people (in their language!) which makes the tale particularly interesting.

There have already been several mentions of English teaching. He taught English in Singapore before this journey. In Beijing (in the book it is still Peking) he taught English at a night school for a while. In Shanghai he encounters a regular English day at a park – a grass roots “institution” where people converged to learn and practice English. This was before the arrival of the Internet…

My son pointed out that it is somewhat illogical that I began reading the “gift” book and not the other two books I brought from the library which have a due date, but who has to be logical all the time?!

*Photo by Gil Epshtein

Saturday’s Book – Great House by Nicole Krauss

I’m about halfway through the book and can’t quite make up my mind about it.

I LOVED her previous book “The History of Love” and couldn’t stop talking about it for a long time. However, this book sometimes has me engrossed while at others feeling a bit depressed. There are separate stories and in each one the loneliness, the silence is sooo great that I’m unhappy. Which could be taken as a sign of how well Krauss writes since I feel drawn into the story.

I don’t know if the stories will tie in with each other yet. I don’t need books to have happy ends but I do need some sort of resolution and hope that it isn’t just a collection of stories of the silences that exist alongside a HUGE desk. The book “Between the assisinations” by Aravind Adiga was like that – tragic stories connected only by the place, no resolution at the end. That one left me with an unfinished feeling to it.

I’m still reading – we’ll see!