"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Light of Evening by Edna O'Brien

This book held my interest initially when the mother, Dilly, is a young girl and travels against her parents' wishes to America. The descriptions of what life was like for a young domestic were illuminating and offered interesting food for thought on the class structure (Irish emigrees still subjugating their own countrymen). And the letters from Dilly to her daughter, Eleanora, were real and full of life.

Sadly, all of the novel that centers on Eleanora and her sad life is just empty in feel--I couldn't wait to be finished reading those sections. If, metaphorically, O'Brien wishes for the reader to see Dilly as the one full of life despite her impending death, then she succeeded. Otherwise, this novel simply fails on almost all levels to be either an enjoyable read or a book with any true enlightenment about the mother/daughter relationship.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Have you ever wondered what life was like back in the 1800s? In Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, you can feel what life was like back then. The genre of this book is adventure. I gave this book a 5 star rating because of how descriptive the author is in the book and how much suspense and adventure there is. Also, the characters in the book are very interesting and always keep you wondering what they'll do next.

The main characters in this book are Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, two boys who always find a way to create trouble and make life interesting. In this book, Tom and Huck spy on two criminals who look suspicious. Tom and Huck eventually find out that the two criminals are hiding treasure in a cave so they go on an adventure in the middle of the night to try to find the buried treasure and become rich.

My book discussion group chose this book as our July selection. I really enjoyed reading this book and was surprised that I don't recall reading it before. I really like the way the author writes like the way they used to talk back then. It might be challenging at times to understand but it is very interesting to read. I also like the way that the author makes the characters so interesting and surprising. This book has a great plot because there is always an adventure in every part of the book, even in the beginning.

Fantastic, fun story. Everyone should read it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier

At the age of 12, Will Cooper is sent to run a remote mountain trading post, which sits near an Indian village in the Appalacian Mountains. Will soon learns the Indian's language, and is befriended by their leader, a man named Bear. Bear eventually adopts Will as his own. There is also a love interest named Claire. Will falls in love with Claire from the moment they first meet. But she is married to someone else, and that is, of course, a problem.

The rest of the book focuses on the Indians trying to salvage a way of life that is already gone, and trying to protect their land from the whites and stay where they are, even though the whites want to send all the Indians to the west. As a lawyer, Will does his best to help the Indians hang onto some land and keep them from being removed to some distant reservation.

The problem with the story is that it feels rather disjointed. The story is narrated by the main character, who sometimes goes into great detail about some events, and other times skips whole years. I guess the loose central theme of the book was how the native people were losing ground in their fight to stay where they were and not be run over by the white men. But this story, and the story threads branching off of it, weren't executed very well. Also, I won't give away the ending, except to say that it wasn't so much an ending, as a fizzling out of the story.