Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Camel Bookmobile

My Mimi gave me this book and I was intrigued. An American woman moves to Africa to run a mobile library and increase literacy in remote villages. The story is told from three different perspectives. I didn't love the book, and it is hard to pinpoint a reason. Maybe I expected too much from the story? I can't recall exactly. Anyway, here is the summary from Amazon:

Hamilton's captivating third novel (after 2004's The Distance Between Us) follows Fiona Sweeney, a 36-year-old librarian, from New York to Garissa, Kenya, on her sincere but naïve quest to make a difference in the world. Fi enlists to run the titular mobile library overseen by Mr. Abasi, and in her travels through the bush, the small village of Mididima becomes her favorite stop. There, Matani, the village teacher; Kanika, an independent, vivacious young woman; and Kanika's grandmother Neema are the most avid proponents of the library and the knowledge it brings to the community. Not everyone shares such esteem for the project, however. Taban, known as Scar Boy; Jwahir, Matani's wife; and most of the town elders think these books threaten the tradition and security of Mididima. When two books go missing, tensions arise between those who welcome all that the books represent and those who prefer the time-honored oral traditions of the tribe. Kanika, Taban and Matani become more vibrant than Fi, who never outgrows the cookie-cutter mold of a woman needing excitement and fulfillment, but Hamilton weaves memorable characters and elemental emotions in artful prose with the lofty theme of Western-imposed "education" versus a village's perceived perils of exposure to the developed world.

Read: July 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Carrie Diaries (Candace Bushnell)

Carrie Diaries is the story of Carrie Bradshaw as a senior in high school. It is full of high school drama - boys, mean girls, college applications, family drama, etc. Carrie and her best friends are not the popular girls, but they have a lot of fun. Carrie ends up dating the popular new guy, leading to lots of jealousy and cat fights. It made me feel really glad not to be in high school anymore! I liked the book overall and it was fun to see where Carrie got her start. The end of the book makes it clear that there will be a few more books covering Carrie's college years!

Read: July 2010 (from the library!)

Up Next: Camel Bookmobile

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (Aimee Bender)

We just finished this book for Book Club, which is one of my favorite things every month. Anyway, after reading this book, I discovered that it is in the genre of "Mystical Realism", which explains so much. The book is about a girl who can taste the feelings of whoever cooked her food, whether she wants to or not. With her gift, she discovers that her seemingly happy mother is hiding some strong feelings of emptiness and dissatisfaction. The book is well written and and the main character, Rose, draws you in, but the storyline is just odd. And I felt a bit unsatisfied at the end.

I kept hoping for the book to turn into chick lit. You know, girl ends up with guy who she has been in love with her whole life. Not girl ends up with folding chair.

I would not recommend rushing out to buy this book in its hardbacked glory (sorry, Sara), but if you stumble across it at Half Price Books someday and need something interesting, then it would be perfect.

And do not be deceived by the lovely piece of cake on the cover. This is not a book version of The Waitress!

Read: July 2010 (on a Kindle!)

Next: Camel Bookmobile