Friday, February 27, 2009

The Road

Despite my 8:30pm bedtime of late and what I am now referring to as my constant companion – Barfy, I managed to finish a book this week! I started reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy during my lunch breaks at work (which PS Cormac – there are too many C’s in your name). I pretty much always eat lunch alone at the cafĂ©/bakery downstairs from my office. I like the break from work and I always bring a book so no one bothers me while I eat. In the beginning, The Road was just a necessary lunch prop. But after a week of reading a few pages here and there while shoveling in sandwiches, I found myself hooked. It took almost half the book, but all of a sudden, I needed to read the rest – immediately.

Don’t get me wrong- this book is Depressing (and that capital D is there for a reason). In fact, it may be the biggest downer of a book EVER. But the story is so laced with love and humanity! The story is very simple – a man and his son who are never given real names are travelling “the road” south somewhere on the east coast after some horrible event has destroyed the world and most of humanity. They never say what actually happened (which bugged) but you get the impression that after this mystery cataclysmic event, the people who didn’t die turned against each other in desperation.

It’s hard to describe why this book is good, but it truly is. Granted I’m pregnant, but I found myself crying multiple times during the book and anyone who knows me will tell you that I am NOT a crier. The love between the man and his son is just so truthful. I think I read somewhere that the author dedicated the book to his son, so I suppose the writing comes from somewhere real. And you can tell.

On a related note – did anyone ever read a book called something like Z for Zacharia? I feel that I read a book like this in middle school that was also a post-apocalyptic story but can’t remember anything else about it…

BAAAHH! I just Googled The Road so I could find an image to post with this review and noticed that it was an Oprah's book club book! The trend (unknowingly) continues...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's Official

I'm pregnant. 3 months to be precise. This is the true reason why I haven't been reading as much lately. Turns out being pregnant makes me feel like I'm super car sick. Like, all the time! And what is the last thing you want to do when you're car sick? You guessed it. Read. I haven't even been reading books about being pregnant, which totally goes against my obsessive nature.

Anywhoo, I will refrain from posting too much personal information on this site, but if you're curious and want more information (and a baby pic from today's appointment), you're always welcome to visit my other site: jill's daily note.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Drowning Ruth

I wonder why I’m all about reading Oprah’s book club books lately? Does Oprah ever pick a book that isn’t kind of a downer? I think no. But that’s okay because at least the writing was solid. The story was also captivating. All around, I actually quite enjoyed this book. Lindsey asked in the comments on my last review whether I’ve ever read any Anita Shreve. The answer is yes! And coincidentally, this book actually reminded me a little of Shreve’s story telling. It takes you to a certain time in history and the voice is very consistent.

I tried a few different times to summarize the plot on my own, but alas nothing I’m writing is right. So I will resort to the back of the book description:

Winter, 1919. Amanda Starkey spends her days nursing soldiers wounded in the Great War. Finding herself suddenly overwhelmed, she flees Milwaukee and retreats to her family’s farm on Nagawaukee Lake, seeking comfort with her younger sister, Mathilda, and three-year-old niece, Ruth. But very soon, Amanda comes to see that her old home is no refuge – she has carried her troubles with her. On one terrible night almost a year later, Amanda loses nearly everything that is dearest to her when her sister mysteriously disappears and is later found drowned beneath the ice that covers the lake. When Mathilda’s husband comes home from the war, wounded and troubled himself, he finds that Amanda has taken charge of Ruth and the farm, assuming her responsibility with a frightening intensity. Wry and guarded, Amanda tells the story of her family in careful doses, as anxious to hide from herself as from us the secrets of her own past and of that night.

Really strong character development – it’s one of those books where you think about them when you’re not reading, wondering what’s happening to them. You might not like every one of the characters, but you really get the whole story with each of them. The plot is a bit melodramatic (it is, after all an Oprah book) but I bought into it. For some reason I always have an easier time buying into melodrama when the story takes place in “olden times”. Like everyone was all running around getting drowned and creating scandals in the 1910s, right?

Anyways, there are plenty of plot twists to keep your attention, plus they don’t tell you the whole effing story until like the very last page, so you really are compelled to keep reading. Considering how lethargic my reading habits have been of late, the fact that I tore through this book in 3 days should tell you that I liked it.