Friday, March 29, 2013

Title: Catch-22
Author: Joseph Heller
Genre: classic, war literature, humor

I have a confession to make. I am 33 years old and I have finally read Catch-22.
Why did I wait so long to read it?
Well, I really didn't have an interest until my friend D.C. dared/challenged me to read it and review it on this blog:
"If/when you read Catch-22 pay particular attention to Chapter 10.  Some of the best irony ever written.   I'm reading it again and realize this book contributed a great deal my to cynical attitude. It is complex, confusing, and disorganized for most people used to reading plots.  There isn't one.  Heller's descriptions of the characters and their expressions is top notch.  The whole book is about irony."

Hmm. A book with no plot? I'm a chronological, organized, Type-A personality. How would I enjoy a book with no plot? Well, surprisingly, I did! The book is full of irony as my friend mentioned (just imagine Stephen Colbert writing a book of fiction) and parts of it are hilarious. I received a few sidelong glances from my coworkers in the lunchroom when they heard me giggling and snorting. You will also enjoy this book if you have ever worked for an organization or institution where things didn't make sense. The poor soldiers in this book have to deal with superiors who are nit-wits, unoriginal, and prone to repetition and ridiculousness.

What book do you challenge/dare me to read next?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Title: Sweetgrass
Author: Mary Alice Monroe
Genre: Southern fiction

Mary June Blakely and Preston Blakely have been married for forty-seven years; they have spent their entire marriage at Sweetgrass, the Blakley's ancestral home. Unfortunately, their marriage is tested when Preston succumbs to a stroke and when Preston's greedy, developer-friendly, real estate agent sister pressures the family to sell Sweetgrass. As Preston undergoes therapy at home, the various members of the Blakely family finally come to grips with some personal demons and family secrets that have been buried for decades. Interwoven into the family drama is snippets of Lowcountry history and the sweetgrass basket industry that has sustained the African American community since the early days of slavery.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Title: Pie Town
Author: Lynne Hinton
Genre: Christian/inspirational fiction

This was a cute and quick read that wasn't too sappy or preachy; however, I was shocked to see swear words in a Christian fiction novel. I know some Christian fiction has gotten more edgy in the last few years but this really surprised me...

Pie Town. A homey name for a small town that conjures up pies, home cooking, and love. Unfortunately, Pie Town does not live up to its name or warm and fuzzy connotations. First, there is no pie (the bakery shut down years ago) and, second, the Pie Town residents are not the friendliest of small-town welcoming committees.

Father George Morris was sent to Pie Town by the diocese for his first calling out of seminary. Father George was hoping and praying for a parish in a Third World country. Why? Because he is running from a secret that would threaten his reputation and calling as a priest.

Trina has been wandering since she was a teen. After finding out that her latest, sweet-talking trucker boyfriend was older than expected, plus married with two children, she literally walked out on him and towards Pie Town.

Although the residents of Pie Town may be judgmental to strangers and newcomers, the townsfolk rally around Alex, an 11 year-old  boy with spina bifida. Alex is considered by many to be the heartbeat of the community. Soon after Father George and Trina arrive in town, Alex's condition worsens; Alex's worsening physical condition sharpens his senses about the supernatural world and after a tragedy, with a little help from above, he rallies the town one last time.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Title: Looking for Anne of Green Gables: The Life and Times of L.M. Montgomery
Author: Irene Gammel
Genre: non-fiction, biography

I read the Anne of Green Gables series as a preteen and teenager and I always wondered about Lucy Maud Montgomery; imagine my surpise and delight when I stumbled upon her biography in my local library.
In this biography, Irene Gammel recounts how life events and literary magazine subscriptions shaped the plot and structure of Anne of Green Gables...Maud's mother died when she was a toddler and her father left her in the care of her grandparents, the Macneills, who weren't very loving. In the book, Matthew Cuthbert is introspective, kind and gentle; the antithesis to Maud's real-life, grumpy and stern grandfather. Marilla Cuthbert was practical and stern; Grandma Macneill was rude, mean and ungracious. Maud developed a lifelong friendship with her cousin, Frede, which was the basis for the "bosom friends" concept between Anne and Diana. Maud loved to flirt and spar with intelligent males which is reflected in the love/hate relationship between Anne and Gilbert.
Maud suffered from seasonal depression in the winter and loved to garden and commune with nature. Writing the flowing descriptions of Prince Edward Island's flowers and landscapes helped her survive the extra long and harsh winter that took place when Maud was writing her manuscript. Maud felt more spiritual when taking a walk through her beloved fields and woods than in a traditional church service. This marked her as odd amongst her traditional, Presbyterian family members and neighbors.
Maud (and Anne Shirley) were prone to melodrama, and unfortunately, Maud was insecure and later in life suffered an unhappy marriage and an exploitative book publisher.