Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sidebars and Book Talks

I sat in class yesterday morning beside my friend Peter. During the lulls and short breaks in the day's agenda, we had a quiet conversation about books. This talk, often in the form of scribbled notes, in the most unlikely of places, buoyed my spirits as I realized that I had found someone whose interest in books paralleled mine.

Peter recommended several books to me and I scrawled notes all over our case studies and agenda pages. From my scribbles, here are some of Peter's suggestions:

1. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

I had seen this book on several top ten lists and searched it out. When I read a brief summary of this 2002 Man Booker Prize winner for fiction, about a young boy adrift at sea with various animals, I have to say that I decided not to pursue this read, as it sounded a bit "too far out". (Unlike many of my friends who adore Mitch Albom, I struggled through the first part of The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and it became one of few books that I have ever abandoned).

So Peter, at your suggestion, I now plan to include this book in my 26 Books challenge for 2010.

2. The Road (Pulitzer Prize, 2007) by Cormac McCarthy

I have not read any of McCarthy's novels and looked into this one. This book is considered of 'the post-apocalyptic' genre as it deals with the journey of a father and son as they travel across the landscape of a destroyed civilization, seeking salvation. This read will be a great way for me to challenge myself, as I am virtually unread in this genre.

3. My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme

Here is a memoir that I know I will love. It has all the essential elements for me, a romantic post-war setting (France), interesting form (letters home, personal notes for recipes), and a love story (the author and her husband, Paul Child) that Julia let the world in on decades later and after the death of her husband. Prud'homme is the greatnephew of Child.

4. Push by Sapphire

Another great recommendation. A first novel by the poet Sapphire, the story is told from the point of view of "Precious" Jones, an illiterate teen living the brutal existence often associated with inner-city life. The movie version that hit theatres this November is entitled "Precious" and is not to confused with the 2009 release of the movie "Push" which is unrelated to this book. I've included the trailer below. Word is that Mariah Carey is receiving rave reviews for her performance (who knew?).

5. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

Peter cautions that the pace of this book is "a bit slow". I asked him if it was sad and he confided that it really was. See, here is another book that I had researched some time ago and again, as I so often do, talked myself out of it before I gave it a chance. For a synopsis, click the title above which is linked to the website dedicated to this story.

Thanks to Peter for all of these suggestions and the dialogue on books.


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