Friday, March 4, 2011

Card Catalogue

One of my New Year's resolutions was to try and not incur any library fines this year. That lasted about 12 days, but I'm still proud to say that so far, I've only racked up 60 cents in overdue charges -- pretty good for a gal who was regularly paying a couple of dollars each month!

The Toronto Public Library has a great collection, which I take full advantage anytime I hear of another *great read*. I love that I can put a book on hold and then when it finally comes up in my queue I've totally forgotten about it so it's like a surprise as to what I'm going to read next!

Lately, I've devoured a few good reads:
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.
This book has been on my *to read* list forever and I finally got around to picking up an audio copy for my commute.

I was a bit annoyed that at the beginning and end of every cd the announcer stated "this is disc ___ of The Perks of Being a Wallflower" but in the end this was a blessing in disguise as I realized that after listening to disc 5, disc 4 was starting! Oops! Luckily, it wasn't too hard to listen to the discs slightly out of order.

As for the actual story, I love this book. it is such a great coming-of-age tale of a sweet ninth grader who is socially awkward and brilliant beyond his years. Though it's been a few years since I was in junior high/high school, this book brought back a wave of memories and emotions of a time that was both tumultuous and triumphant. A perfect quote from the book: "So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be."

Definitely read it before the movie comes out next year!
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This was our Book Club pick for February, but I was a bit delinquent and didn't get to reading it until after our meeting. My consensus only 50 pages into it was that I was a bit worried it was going to be too gruesome and gory for me. Once I got going, I'll admit it was hard to put down. Even with the brutality, the story was compelling and left me wanting more. I don't think I'll jump right into the 2nd and 3rd books of the trilogy, but they're definitely on my radar now.
  • Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi
I really wanted to like this book, and at the beginning, it was fairly engrossing, but by the middle I found myself skipping passages and almost entire pages. I think this would've have been an excellent magazine article, but as a book, I felt it went on a bit too much. I could relate to some of what Portia went through, but again, felt like it was just a really long diary entry that wasn't especially interesting.

  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave.
I think I've used the adjective "heart-wrenching" a lot this year when describing the books I've read, and Little Bee is no different. The story was difficult at times, and more than heart-wrenching, it was gut-wrenching. but it was very well written and captivating. I definitely couldn't put it down and often fell asleep with it on my face. I can't really divulge too much about the story because the author explicitly asks that readers let other readers find out for themselves, so you're going to have to pick it up and tell me what you think.
  • Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler
I wouldn't have picked this book up on my own, but luckily it was sent to me by the lovely and wonderful, Claire. I loved ending my day with a few pages at the Homesick Restaurant and was sad when it was finished. The story follows Pearl, a single mother, and her 3 children as they grow up in their dysfunctional family in Baltimore from sometime in the 1940s to 1975.

At first, it was really hard for me to connect with any of the characters because I didn't like any of them, but by the end I felt empathy and even a bond with them all. I liked that each chapter was from the point-of-view of a different character, with some overlap so I got to read how each character may have reacted to a particular instance.

I'd recommend this book to anyone...though it is not "beach read", it was fairly quick to get through and very thought-provoking.

Well, there you have it, just an inkling of what's taking up real estate on my night stand. Oh, and at the time of this post's publication, my fines were up to 90 cents and an official block was put on my account! Have to remedy that pronto!


Faiza March 5, 2011 at 10:25 AM  

yeah for the card catalogue!

little bee broke my heart too. sigh.

i have some fines awaiting me on monday. i didn't return a few things when i left for vegas. ooops!

tez March 5, 2011 at 3:10 PM  

little bee was fabulous - i cried my eyes out... i picked it up in LA, just before getting on the plane back here and i finished it in the taxi on the way back to our house!

Claire Kiefer March 6, 2011 at 1:08 AM  

Welllllll now I'm dying of curiosity about Little Bee and am going to have to seek it out as soon as I finish Water for Elephants. I've been having a hard time reading lately because I'm so exhausted that I fall asleep within minutes of starting to read at night.

Glad you liked Homesick Restaurant--I tell you what, I understand what you mean about not liking the characters at first--but I fell in love with Ezra a little. Or maybe my heart just broke for him, I don't know. And you're right--it's not a "beach read" and it feels like legitimate literature, but it's really quick and pretty easy to read. Love books like that :)

Hunger Games was great. I would never have read it were it not for our teacher-student book club, but I'm really glad I did. I haven't read the second two books but I want to!

Seriously I'm going on the hunt for Little Bee on Monday. I can't handle the curiosity.

Erin {pughs' news} March 6, 2011 at 2:04 AM  

Oh library fines! You'd think that, being a school librarian, I'd be so good about returning my library books on time, but I am AWFUL! I kept The Help 8 days longer than I was supposed to, but I couldn't bear to return it.... it was just so good...

The next two books in the Hunger Games Trilogy become a lot more gory and disturbing. You're probably smart to take a break before you carry on. They are really good, but definitely upsetting.

Kristal March 6, 2011 at 9:16 PM  

Love when people post what they've been reading. Sounds like I need to pick up Litte Bee.

bklyn76 March 8, 2011 at 9:03 AM  

@Faiza & tez--Little Bee will stay with me for a very long time.

@CK, Kristal--not many books make it on my *must read* list, but Little Bee definitely did.

@Erin, my current commute book is CeeCee Honeycut b/c of you. :)

Simply Me March 12, 2011 at 10:01 AM  

I really was looking for some ideas on books to read so thank you for this ..Little Bee is the fav i guess and next on my must read list ..
I am currently reading " The Namesake " though ..have u seen the movie ?

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