Monday, February 1, 2010

Books Books Books

I just finished reading "Night" by Elie Wiesel last night. I had never read it before and had it on my "to read" list forever. Man this book is amazing and powerful. I was in tears the last 40 pages of the book and it was written with such honesty, Elie really did not hold back anything. What I loved about it was you could tell it was written by someone who was there, in the moment. You can't make up or fictionalize those types of experiences. And he shared his every thought, feeling and emotion which gave the book such authenticity. If you haven't read it, please go out now and do it. It took me literally less than a day to finish.

I am looking forward to discussing the book with Robert, the eighth grader I am teaching. I'm not sure I would have understood or been impacted as much as I was, if I was an eighth grader reading this book. It was a pleasure and I want to make sure that Robert got something out of it as well.

I also just finished "The Group" by Mary McCarthy. This book was originally published in 1954, and my was it somewhat progressive for that time. I guess one of the best ways I can describe it is sort of a "Sex and the City" for the 1950s. It was comprised of many vignettes of a group of girls, who all graduated college together. The book was full of weak women who chose horrible men as companions. There was a lot of gender roles going on, much which I feel has changed since the book was originally published.

Back then it was an awful fate if a woman was not married by 26, so she usually chose the first suitor who came around. It was a competition as well to wed and have children. Some things will never change like gossip and status etc.

I don't think I would have ever picked up this book on my own at the bookstore. I read it for a book club I am in. The book itself is constructed in lengthy paragraphs which could go on for a page or two. The dialogue is tucked into those paragraphs. It took me about three chapters to get used to, but I think the book was worth reading. It certainly sparked interesting conversations at the book club.

I am currently reading "Who by Fire" by Diana Spechler. Rather than describe it myself (I'm only a chapter into it) I'll let the publisher do it for me:

Bits and Ash were children when the kidnapping of their younger sister, Alena—an incident for which Ash blames himself—caused an irreparable family rift. Thirteen years later, Ash is living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel, cutting himself off from his mother, Ellie, and his wild-child sister, Bits. But soon he may have to face them again; Alena's remains have finally been uncovered. Now Bits is traveling across the world in a bold and desperate attempt to bring her brother home and salvage what's left of their family.

On Deck: The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zaf√łn. This is our February pick for our book club and I could not be more excited. This was already on my "to read" list because the author writes beautifully. I have been waiting for his second novel to be released after his first "Shadow of the Wind" had me so captivated. I won't go on to describe this book because I'll probably comment on it later but he writes about books, Barcelona and mystery. So great.

"The Book Theif" by Marcus Zusak. This was my pick for March for the book club. If you haven't read this book, don't walk, run to the book store and get it. It was nothing short of amazing.

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